What Is the Typical Organizational Structure of a Hospital?

Karize Uy

A typical organizational structure of a hospital would usually be a combination of a hierarchical and divisional structure, since there is a chain of command where some levels are under another level, but employees are organized in departments or divisions that have their own tasks. At the top of the structure would be the administrators, followed by the information services and the therapeutic services, both of which are usually at the same level. Diagnostic services are also alongside the aforementioned divisions, along with the support services. If the organization structure of a hospital would be drawn, it will likely resemble a pyramid, with only a few leaders at the top and more subordinates in the lower levels.

Those in healthcare management perform administrative duties, but often work closely with doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
Those in healthcare management perform administrative duties, but often work closely with doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

The topmost level of the administration services consists of the people who usually own and operate the hospital as a business enterprise. They are responsible for imposing policies and the budget according to the needs of the patients and employees. Often, these people are called board of directors, executive officers, presidents, and vice presidents. Department heads such as in the chief surgeons and pediatricians, can also be considered part of the administration services.

Nursing staff are the primary contact for patients at a hospital.
Nursing staff are the primary contact for patients at a hospital.

Below the administration services are the information services, responsible for documenting all necessary paperwork in any hospital activities. This includes obtaining the patient’s information when being admitted, medical and family records, and the receipt of expenses incurred during the hospital stay. All documents are usually filed using a computerized system that makes for easier retrieval and sorting. The information services department is also in charge of keeping staff-related documents, recruiting new employees, and conducting seminars to educate both staff and patients about new issues and health news. Staff under this level can include receptionists, secretaries, and marketing specialists.

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Ward clerks are often nurses who are tasked with managing a specific unit of the hospital.
Ward clerks are often nurses who are tasked with managing a specific unit of the hospital.

The organizational structure of a hospital also includes a group of therapeutic services, perhaps most recognized by patients as it involves the doctors, surgeons, and therapists who directly treat the patients and their conditions. Aside from the usual doctors who cater to the physiological conditions of the patients, the therapeutic services also includes people who help patients with other needs, such as psychologists, therapists, dieticians, and even social workers. Nurses can also be a part of this group, monitoring the patients when doctors are not available.

Blood and urine samples are collected and evaluated by the diagnostic division.
Blood and urine samples are collected and evaluated by the diagnostic division.

Diagnostic services is the division responsible for machines and laboratories. In order to be treated properly, patients might have to go through a series of tests and extraction of samples, such as blood and urine tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Samples and images usually go through laboratories and diagnosticians for analysis, so the real cause of an illness is identified, and doctors can administer proper treatment.

Diagnostic services are responsible for MRIs and other imaging procedures.
Diagnostic services are responsible for MRIs and other imaging procedures.

Completing the organizational structure of a hospital is the support services that make sure the medical supplies are plentiful, machines are in good working condition, and the hospital is clean and functioning. Staff under this division would include engineers, electricians, and janitors. All of the mentioned divisions are important, and the loss of one can incapacitate a hospital’s ability to serve patients. These divisions also work with and depend on one another to keep the hospital running smoothly.

Included in the support services of a hospital are janitors and other such staff.
Included in the support services of a hospital are janitors and other such staff.
Hospitals typically have a combination of a hierarchical and divisional organizational structure.
Hospitals typically have a combination of a hierarchical and divisional organizational structure.
The hospital's information services department includes documenting expenses incurred during a hospital stay.
The hospital's information services department includes documenting expenses incurred during a hospital stay.

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Discussion Comments

Glasis
Many hospitals have cut back on the services they render to a community due to budget strain. For instance, many hospitals are dropping prenatal and delivery wards in favor of more attended sections of the hospital.

A hospital becomes a part of the community it serves and therefore people become personally attached to the local hospital. People find that the hospital they were born in doesn't even deliver babies anymore. It is sad that communities are losing various medical services once available to them.

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