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Satellite Services
Sarah Owen, RT(R)
Health Administration, St. Joseph’s College
HA 515: Health Services Administration
Prof. Valerie Connor
October 3
rd
, 2021
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Satellite Services
Although the overall purpose of organizations varies from one to another, they are all
“formed to efficiently and effectively accomplish a purpose for their stakeholders” (Walston,
2017, p. 349) and the purpose could potentially be met by use of a satellite servicean off-
campus, remote program providing service to an organization and/or its patients.
In the article “Big Med” by Atul Gawande, he describes the work of an ICU command
center that provides assistance to staff and monitors patient status/care remotely. In effort to
improve patient care, Dr. Armin Ernst and his command center staff virtually check in with their
patients and keep track of patient status via banks of computer screens that display “a live feed of
cardiac-monitor readings, radiology-imaging scans, and laboratory results” (Gawande, 2012,
para.76).
When needed, the tele-ICU staff (made of a doctor, two nurses, and an administrative
assistant) are able to call in through video chat to any ICU room and communicate with staff or
patients. This can seem a bit ‘invasive’ or controlling to some; however, the intent is to provide
coverage and/or assistance to physicians and nurses when their attention is needed elsewhere or
the workload becomes too much. Errors certainly happen, even for the most experienced, and
human beings are forgetful, especially under stress. The command center staff is there to catch
the things that have been overlooked, forgotten, or simply put on the back burner: computer
paperwork, proper patient bed elevation, securing breathing tubes, timely medication dispensing,
and more. The overall goal of the tele-ICU command center is to ensure that everyone works
together to provide the most effective and least wasteful care possible.
With this example in mind, I believe it is important to, first and foremost, understand
what the purpose of the organization is before any big decision-making or implementation of
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new processes. “The purpose of an organization is often expressed through its values, mission,
and vision statements. If appropriately used, these statements identify who the organization
serves, how it serves them, and what type of relationship it expects to have with its stakeholders”
(Walston, 2017, p. 349). Dr. Ernst’s tele-ICU had the purpose of unified work to provide
effective and efficient care and to meet this purpose each person (team member) worked in
collaboration to ensure no error went overlooked and that each patient received extraordinary
care.
To decide whether a satellite program like the tele-ICU center should be opened, factors
should be taken into consideration, such as the organization’s mission, vision and values,
staffing, funding, and education. As stated, the mission, vision and values define the purpose of
the organization and how it intends to fulfill that purpose. Staffing and education should be
evaluated before implementing a remote program because additional, trained staff will need to be
available in order to run the service. Lastly, with any improvement or change, funding is
essential to the start and success of the process as training, additional equipment, and new hires
are most likely needed.
Physician involvement in changes made within a healthcare organization is critical
because they experience the change firsthand and understand exactly how it could affect patients,
staff, and additional workflow processes. Having physicians on the Board of Directors, a part of
the team proposing change and new procedures, is a big step in enhancing physician
involvement. Further, welcoming feedback from the involved physicians regarding potential
change and firsthand experience can be beneficial for improvement.
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References
Walston, S. L. (2017). Chapter 20. Organizational Behavior and Theory in Healthcare:
Leadership Perspectives and Management Applications. Health Administration Press.
Gawande, Atul. (2012, August 6). Big Med: Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality
control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care?
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/08/13/big-med

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