A comparative study of hospital management in Great Britain and Brazil : cost information use
In Great Britain and Brazil healthcare is free at the point of delivery and based study only on citizenship. However, the British NHS is fifty-five years old and has undergone extensive reforms. The Brazilian SUS is barely fifteen years old. This research investigated the middle management mediation role within hospitals comparing managerial planning and control using cost information in Great Britain and Brazil. This investigation was conducted in two stages entailing quantitative and qualitative techniques. The first stage was a survey involving managers of 26 NHS Trusts in Great Britain and 22 public hospitals in Brazil. The second stage consisted of interviews, 10 in Great Britain and 22 in Brazil, conducted in four selected hospitals, two in each country. This research builds on the literature by investigating the interaction of contingency theory and modes of governance in a cross-national study in terms of public hospitals. It further builds on the existing literature by measuring managerial dimensions related to cost information usefulness. The project unveils the practice involved in planning and control processes. It highlights important elements such as the use of predictive models and uncertainty reduction when planning. It uncovers the different mechanisms employed on control processes. It also depicts that planning and control within British hospitals are structured procedures and guided by overall goals. In contrast, planning and control processes in Brazilian hospitals are accidental, involving more ad hoc actions and a profusion of goals. The clinicians in British hospitals have been integrated into the management hierarchy. Their use of cost information in planning and control processes reflects this integration. However, in Brazil, clinicians have been shown to operate more independently and make little use of cost information but the potential signalled for cost information use is seen to be even greater than that of their British counterparts.