HealthDay News — According to a study published in Human Resource Management, human resource (HR) capabilities are positively associated with quality of patient care, with the relationship mediated by proactive work.

Naresh Khatri, PhD, from the University of Missouri in Columbia, and colleagues developed a multidimensional construct of HR capabilities and examined its association with quality of patient care using a national sample of US hospitals. 

Data on HR capabilities were collected from 421 senior managers nested in 279 hospitals. Data on patient care were obtained from these managers and from patients of 207 hospitals who reported the data via the hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey.

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The researchers observed a positive relationship for HR capabilities with quality of patient care; this was mediated by proactive behaviors of health care workers. 

Three HR practices were identified that can improve clinical work behaviors: the chief executive of the hospital understanding the critical role of HR; the role of HR director in understanding and being able to develop a positive HR strategy; and competencies of HR staff and proficiency in the department.

“The study findings support our main thesis that HR capabilities play a crucial role in improving the quality of patient care in US hospitals and thus could be a source of sustainable competitive advantage for these organizations,” the authors write.


Khatri N, Gupta V and Varma A. “The Relationship Between HR Capabilities And Quality Of Patient Care: The Mediating Role Of Proactive Work Behaviors”. Human Resource Management. 2016. doi: 10.1002/hrm.21794. [Epub ahead of print]

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