Assessing Causality

Foundations for Population-Based Health Care Managerial Decision Making
  • Thomas T. H. Wan
Chapter

Conclusion

This chapter is written to identify and explain the fundamental principles in conducting causal analysis in health services management. Epidemiological study designs and methods are reviewed and illustrated as the orientation of health care managers is increasingly focused on population-based concerns. The application of the scientific thinking, and hence a knowl- edge management approach to health service problems, can guide the development and implementation of solution sets (i.e., interventions). The principal criteria of causality and their application in the conduct of causal analysis are central to developing scientific, evidence- based knowledge for navigating organizational changes (Keats and Hitt, 1988)and innovations (Scott and Bruce, 1994).

The causal approach advocated here does not imply that employing explicit and practical knowledge in organizational sciences can solve every managerial problem. However, causal analysis and its application can make it possible to search more efficiently for errors that may be amenable to organizational and behavioral interventions. The health care manager thinking causally will recognize that multiple pathways, intermediate factors, the measures used and the multiple levels of effect that risk factors have along the pathway affect the differences in outcomes observed.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas T. H. Wan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Administration, School of Allied Health ProfessionsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmond

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