QUALITY IMPROVEMENT AT DUBAI HEALTH AUTHORITY DUE TO THE DUBAI GOVERNMENT EXCELLENCE PROGRAM

Introduction

The companies with a universally acceptable design of operation systems would be less inclined to focus on quality as the key selling point. The main reason for this is that the quality of goods was not made part of what the company offers as a service. Ultimately, the results a company attains at its debut cannot be sustained. Customers get to learn that they receive poor quality from a corporation and move to the one that offers satisfactory quality. A customer will always want to get value for their money. However, the changes in market demands have made companies review their operations. They now focus more on quality while everything else revolves around providing quality. This essay gives insight into how DGEP changed the management system in the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Background

The Dubai Health Authority is a government owned organization that was first established in 1973 under the name Department of Health and Medical Services (DOMS) that only provided health services to the people. In 2007, His Excellency H. H Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum directed that the name gets changed to DHA and its function in the community revised. The duties of the organization were amended to provide the essential healthcare services to the citizens of Dubai and increase the awareness of the facilities offered at the health center. The group has maintained their commitment to the public to remain competitive in providing the best quality of services to the members who go into the facility to look for services. The quality of health care has significantly increased and is expected to rise with each client served. DHA oversees the undertakings of the JCIA in Latifa Hospital, Rashid Hospital, Dubai Hospital, and Airport Medical Center and parallel to the JCIA it uses the DGEP to reach the optimum level of services in treating patients.

Vision

 To be the best center for specialized and professional health services for women and children.

Mission

 To attain world class level of customer-based and top quality health services to women and children living in the UAE, Dubai, and referrals.

 Values

  • Integrity
  • Quality Assurance
  • Dedication
  • Innovation
  • Team Work Support
  • Security

EFQM Model

The European Foundation Quality Management (EFQM) model was introduced in 1992. The goal of EFQM is the provision of sustainable success in Europe and the world as a whole. “It facilitates the comprehension of the most relevant dimensions of the reality of an organization and allows establishing comparison criteria with the best Practices identified in other agencies and in the exchange of the experience” (Martín-Castilla, 2002).

DGEP

            The Dubai Government Excellence Program, the DGEP model, was developed in 1997 in Dubai when Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum oversaw its initiation. It is the first government excellence model to be produced in the world. It was engineered to help the government streamline the efficiency of providing services in the public sector. The DGEP model has been useful because of the cooperation of the government in implementing the DGEP. The DGEP model has been reviewed and improved continuously to achieve the best possible standards. The regular reviewing of the model ensures that it is up to date with the current requirements of the ever-changing world and needs. It is also updated with the change in the application of the technology in the service sector in the government.

Dubai Health Authority prior to Using the DGEP

The health authority had no apparent quality based policy in place to ensure there was a mark against which to evaluate its performance before the adoption of the DGEP model. The state of the heads of the health authority needed to change (Ahmed and Abonamah, 2013). They were previously focused only on making sound business policies. This mentality shielded them from the market activities that change rapidly. The employees on the other hand only followed the directives of the heads without having a chance to make contributions to making plans. The relationship between the management and the subordinates was disconnected.

DGFP model ensures that they employ strategic planning at the helm of the health authority. It also provides an input towards the reduction of the risks relating to the routines of the organization on the short and long term plans. Therefore, the model puts together to alleviate both the long and short-term losses related to the organization.

The DGEP model application views people as a central part of the corporation. Before adapting the model, the subordinate staff of the employees are detached from the heads who make decisions (Hafeez and Aburawi, 2013). This means that the subordinate staff never gets to have a say in the decision-making process despite being directly connected to the clients. The organization’s structure had barriers to free flow of information, which translates to communication barriers. The communications systems are rigid and suppressive. The major formalities involved see to it that most of the communication is vertical, running from the top to the bottom (Martín-Castilla, 2002). The employees only communicated upwards when reporting the completion of a task, but never airing their views. The cold atmosphere at work means that the employees are not adequately motivated, and the performance is little. The management picked the training that workers needed and sometimes trained them on areas that they already understood. There was no elaborate career path for the employees to focus on.

In as far as the strategy was concerned, DHA developed a system and applied technology that could handle the tasks at hand efficiently. The flow of information was relatively little, which ultimately resulted in a barrier to the efficiency of the system. The methods of employee-customer communication were inefficient. Customer’s feedback was difficult to obtain because the customers had no platform to air their issues (Ahmed, 2010). That situation affected the quality of service to the customers because they did not know what was not satisfactory to the client. The result was the failure by the corporate system to establish the expectation of the customers and improve their systems to match the clients’ expectations. Prior to applying DGEP, there was little attention directed to results expected and the quality of outcomes as well. The customer focus was a part of the business that the system had completely neglected. The popularity of DHA in the society was minimal due to the small number of people who benefited from the services of the facility.

Dubai Health Authority

DGEP system changed the way of operations at the health authority in a few years. DGEP gave DHA among other firms in Dubai with a quality-centered design against which to gauge their activities with regards to the EFQM criteria. The responsibilities of the leaders changed to shift focus to ensuring that their firms were progressing positively (Dubai Government Excellence Program, 2015). They were more hands-on in overseeing the operations at the firm. It meant more interaction with the employees, clients and with the society that constituted a big part of the external market forces. They took part in various regions of the system and were able to achieve improved quality by implementing the proposals of the stakeholders.

The key improvement in DHA was the adoption of a system that was more focused on the long-term goals of the organization. The system has seen to it that customer feedback is sought and acted upon. Also, the company adopted the SWOT method of self-evaluation (Proving and Improving, 2015). This way, the DHA gets to know what it requires changing and in what way. The previous systems were improved to fit into the systems of operations.

The DHA has re-designed its operation modes and services to suit its clients’ expectations over the various media as well as in the physical sense when the customers visit the health centers. They now offer a guide that helps record the systems that the company has in place (Dubai Government Excellence Program, 2015). It is easy for the subordinate staff to work when they have access to a manual of the system. The existence of records also makes it easy to analyze any unproductive aspects of the system.

The firm’s performance rating rose from 10% to 15% compared to the previous year that was attributed to the implementation of the new model of operations. The levels of satisfaction among clients and the society as a whole rose significantly (Gardiner et al., 2013). The DHA was put in a position whereby they could increase the standard of health awareness among the people (Hafeez and Aburawi, 2013). It allowed them to campaign for the awareness of severe health issues such as breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, and even the dangers of smoking.

The attention of internal customers also rose as much as the focus on external clients. Job specifications for the employees were developed. The training needs of the employees dictated the choice of training that they took part in. Performance evaluation of individual employees provided a basis for improvement in their professions. Rewarding employees for the purposes of motivation ensured that they always strived to achieve better.

Partnership management is necessary for the generation of sustainable results. DHA put in place a productive partnership with the police in Dubai to maintain security. The police donated ambulance services to assist patients during emergencies (Hafeez and Aburawi, 2013). The extensive use of technology in healthcare ensured that clients benefited from the services they received. Finance records played an additional part other than displaying the levels of results. The finance records were used in managing resources. The clients had more platforms of receiving services such as the E-call center and E-call complaint centers among other facilities that met the clients’ expectations.

Recommendations

In the wake of the improvements in the system, improvement still has room. The following recommendations highlight some of the improvements that can be applied in the future.

  • Additional training on the EFQM and DGEP models to allow for elaborate understanding and implementation of the system by both the leaders and staff.
  • To establish an internal self-evaluation team of individuals such as auditors rather than hiring an external team every year.
  • Motivate the staff and consult them on decision making to encourage innovation.
  • Ensure that the electronic services are fast, efficient and up to date.
  • Provide a manual for the operations of the firm and take note of their performance regularly.
  • Allow free channels of communication among members of staff across the ranks in the organization and external stakeholders. 
  • Emphasize the importance of SWOT analysis and develop a self-evaluation system in the organization’s departments.

Conclusion

The Dubai Health Authority is a government owned facility that provides citizens with health care services and creates awareness among people. The DHA applies the DGEP system as a gauge towards the achievement of the provision of quality services. It has seen to it that there are improved methods and procedures of handling operations. The DGEP has continuously enhanced the state of the DHA. The future of the DHA is mainly dependent on the foundation that the DGEP has put in place.

References

Ahmed, A. 2010. Customer relationship management through communication strategy: Fibres industry case study. International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management. pp. 45-52.

Ahmed, A. and Abonamah, A. 2013. Innovative system for measuring SMEs performance. International Journal of Customer Relationship Marketing and Management (IJCRMM). Pp. 1-26.

DHA, (2015). Company website. [online] Available at: https://www.dha.gov.ae [Accessed 17 Jul. 2015].

Dubai Government Excellence Program, 2015. DGEP. [online] Available at http://www.dgep.gov.ae/ar/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 17 Jul. 2015].

Gardiner, P., McAdam, R., Keogh, W. and Tigani, A. 2013. An exploratory study of business excellence implementation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) public sector: Management and employee perceptions. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management. Pp. 426-445.

Hafeez, K. and Aburawi, I. 2013. Planning human resource requirements to meet target customer service levels. International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences. Pp. 230-252.

Martín-Castilla, J. I. 2002. Possible ethical implications in the deployment of the EFQM, excellence model. Journal of Business Ethics39(1-2), 125-134.

Proving and Improving, 2015. EFQM excellence model. [online] Available at http://www.proveandimprove.org/tools/efqm.php [Accessed 17 Jul. 2015].

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