Functional Organizational Structure in Healthcare

The functional organizational structure is considered to be the most common in healthcare. It is defined by the pyramid-shaped hierarchy in accordance to which each managerial position is identified together with the specific functions. Additionally, it is necessary to consider the context of organizational operations, such as the size and functions of a medical establishment that will determine its structure. Large institutions will benefit from a vertical structure because it corresponds with the variety of administrative control systems and positions necessary to keep track of operations. Considering this approach, one can argue that a functional organization with a vertical structure requires a bureaucracy to ensure that safety and quality standards are met across all departments. Reporting and accountability are the key characteristics of this model.

Next, the matrix structure is used by healthcare organizations as an alternative to functional structures that can limit performance and work flexibility. The central characteristic is the focus on teamwork and projects-based approach to operations, meaning that a person, for instance, a nurse is assigned to a particular department. He or she reports to the program’s director, for example, the manager of the geriatrics department about their work. Communicating and cooperation under this structure are usually better when compared to functional organizations. However, bureaucracy and reporting are also present. In this regard, one can argue that both ethical and legal implications suggest that reporting of patient outcomes and treatment process has to be precise and is a necessary bureaucratic part of healthcare that allows making improvements to the existing system.

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