S. W. O. T. ANALYSIS Ruby Scarbrook In order for an organization to be successful, ongoing strategic planning must take place. Particularly in the health care field it has proven to be beneficial in evaluating alternative steps and establishing goals for the future (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2012, p. 78). A strategic plan is a process by which managers develop a carefully devised plan of action to achieve the goals of the organization.

For example the mission of the Community South Medical Center is to enhance their health services for the population it serves. Essentially since the organization mission is to enhance their health care services to the population it services then the strategic planning should support the fulfillment of that mission. Based on the mission of the organization, goals are developed with action steps and plans for reaching those goals.

An important part of the strategic planning process is the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. The SWOT is used to determine the organization’s external opportunities and threats as well as the internal strengths and weaknesses (Importance of Strategic Planning, n. d. , p. 2) . Based on the scenario, one of the major weaknesses of the Community South Medical Center is shortage of clinical staff. This shortage lies in the positions of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and medical technologists.

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This medical center has an array of services inclusive of acute care, residential care, independent living, in-home nursing, hospice, neonatal, and pediatric services, advanced cardiac services, a major trauma center, a center of excellence for pulmonary services, and a neurosurgery center. With their comprehensive health services filling positions in the clinical area is a major need and is necessary for overall delivery of quality care.

The power of the healthcare workforce consists of the “front line of caregivers in providing services” and a shortage of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and medical technologists can have a negative impact on the overall functioning of the organization such as: specific services not being offered; limited beds; and lack of new medical technologies. Having sufficient coverage of health care personnel is imperative when setting goals as the organization cannot be successful without ample staff to carry out the duties necessary for quality care.

As mentioned above the SWOT analysis is an important part of the strategic planning process because it outlines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the organization and is used to determine both external opportunities as well as external threats in addition to internal strengths and weaknesses. The SWOT is used as a guide to strategic planning and is a strong tool to use to help organization look at and plan their overall environment by recognizing new opportunities, building on their strengths, correcting their weaknesses and protecting against internal weaknesses and external threats (SWOT Analysis, n. . , para 7). There are two main parts of the SWOT and two divisions under each part. Internal is the first part and the two main divisions are Strengths and Weaknesses. Relative to the Community South Medical Center the internal strengths include: existing comprehensive health services; staff support for new program development; strong brand and reputation in the community; and the large number of physicians on staff.

The internal weaknesses of the Community South Medical Center include: the lack of sufficient clinical staff in the areas of registered nurses, respiratory therapists, and medical technologists; decline in The Joint Commission standards; non-interfacing information technology systems; outdated facilities and technology; a shift to its financial mix; absence of solid marketing and communication plan. The second main part of SWOT is External. This includes Opportunities and Threats. These are things that the healthcare organization cannot control.

The external Opportunity of the Community South Medical Center include: changes in population profile or need; the availability of new technology; and an organization that is free from competition. The external Threats of the Community South Medical Center include: located in an old urban area; changes in the economy; and change in insurance plans of major business being replace with smaller business. All of the steps in strategic planning work together and builds on each other in the overall planning process.

The process is ongoing and continuous monitoring to ensure progress is being made towards the goals and to make any changes that need to take place. Essentially continuous monitoring of the external and internal environment of the organization is an important step in strategic planning as it would allow the C. E. O. to make the necessary changes needed to help the organization stay current and meet the patients’ needs. It is definitely necessary for the Community South Medical Center to take action now to revise their strategic yearly assessment as it is long overdue.

Their strategic plan has not been reviewed for three years and so many changes have taken place within their community as well as within their facility. It is important that they start with revision of their mission to meet the changing population. The mission statements and vision statement provides a framework for customer service initiative by incorporating in the mission statement a general statement of what the facility will do and how it will meet the needs of the patients.

The Community Medical Center is a large urban for-profit healthcare facility with an abreast of services in place and with large businesses leaving and demographical changes, strategic planning needs to take place now before it is too late. The strategic planning needs to focus on where the organization is today and where they need to be in the future. This would involve identifying key issues needed for the organization to be successful and defining specific action steps to achieve ongoing change (Hirsch ; Gandolf, n. d. , para 12).

Starting with the Governing Board, some of the leadership positions that would be part of the strategic management team would consist of the CEO, medical staff, department heads, and a Human Resource Manager. These leaders would contribute to the strategic planning process and day-to-day operations inclusive of accomplishing the mission, developing goals and objectives, allocation of resources, developing policies and procedures, performing performance evaluations, recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff (Importance of Strategic Planning, n. d. , p. 3).

The leaders will meet on a regular basis to review the strategic plan by monitoring the internal and external environment for changes and/or alternatives while reviewing competitors, social and regulatory issues, budges, etc. It is important that leadership positions are established with skills and competencies needed to provide high customer satisfaction and high quality care in order for the facility to be successful in moving forward (Varkey ; Bennet, n. d. , p. 1). Some of the market trends identified in this area are the rapid development of small businesses and the changing demographics.

With the change from large businesses to small businesses the Community Medical Center can be affected by an increase in people being underinsured or uninsured. Additionally the population is aging so services need to be put in place to meet the needs of this population in order to provide good quality care. Different generations have different needs, values, and expectations so it is important for the Community Medical Center to design marketing techniques to reach various generations.

In order for the Community Medical Center to be successful the leaders must identify the forces that will have an impact on the strategic planning process. With continuous monitoring of the external and internal environment paying particular attention to economic trends, the competition, politics, social trends, and technological trends they will be able to obtain vital information for the SWOT in to add to the success of their strategic planning. Bibliography Buchbinder, S. B. ; Shanks, N. H. (2011). Introduction to health care management (2nd ed. . Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Hirsch, L. , Gandolf, S. , (n. d). .SWOT: The high-level self exam that boosts your bottom line. Retrieved August 25,2012 from http://www. healthcaresuccess. com/articles/swot. html. Importance of strategic planning. (n. d. ). Retrieved August 25, 2012 from http://www. wsha. org. Varkey, P. , Bennet, K. E. (2010). Practical techniques for strategic planning in health care organization. SWOT analysis (n. d. ). Retrieved August 8, 2012 from http://managementstudyguide. com/swot-analysis. htm.

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