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Just like any industry, healthcare organizations also need to make continual adjustments to maintain optimum functionality. To determine the areas where adjustments are needed to be made, a number of methods can be used.
However, one essential method known as SWOT analysis (that is extensively used in other industries) has not been put into use in healthcare. It allows the assessment of an organization from a neutral perspective through a detailed discussion of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
So, if you wish to conduct SWOT analysis in healthcare organizations, follow these guidelines:
Steps to Follow for SWOT Analysis in Healthcare
SWOT analysis was originally designed to provide a thorough analysis of businesses in other industries, but its many benefits have prompted its use in healthcare organizations as well.
- The first step of SWOT analysis in healthcare involves the compilation and assessment of key data, which might include the community’s health status, present status of medical technology, or the sources of healthcare funding. Once the appropriate (and correct) data has been composed and analyzed, the capabilities of the organization are evaluated.
- In the second step of SWOT analysis in healthcare, the data collected is organized into four categories, which are: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The strengths and weaknesses of the organization are internal factors, while opportunities and threats normally are a result of external factors playing their part.
- Third step of SWOT analysis in healthcare involves developing a SWOT matrix for each business option that is under consideration.
- In the fourth step of SWOT analysis in healthcare, the analysis derived is incorporated into the decision-making process as it determines which option will best suit the overall strategic plan of the organization.
Examples for Step 2
Factors that have encouraged exceptional organizational performance are strengths. Examples include using state-of-the-art medical equipment, focusing on healthcare improvement, investments in healthcare informatics, highly trained medical personnel and top-notch medical services.
Factors that affect healthcare quality or increase healthcare costs are weaknesses. Some examples are outdated healthcare facilities, fluctuation in the continuity of care due to poor communication, insufficient management training, poor use of healthcare informatics, and lack of financial resources.
New business initiatives available are considered opportunities by healthcare organizations. Some examples include collaborations with different healthcare organizations, development of new healthcare programs, increased funds for better healthcare informatics, and so on.
Factors that could harm the performance of healthcare organizations are considered threats. Examples include economic or political insecurity, increased demand for expensive medical technology, budget deficits on state and federal level, and increased pressure for reduction in healthcare costs.
4 Rules to Keep in Mind While Conducting SWOT Analysis in Healthcare
- Be Realistic: Always be unbiased when collecting and evaluating data.
- Avoid Complexity: Keep it short and simple to avoid over-analyzing problems.
- Analyze Rationally: Compare your plans only with key competitors to get a better idea of whether the plan is better or worse than theirs.
- Attain Change: Strategic plans should be updated as soon as problems are identified so that appropriate steps towards directional change can be taken.
By following these steps, you will be able to conduct a proper SWOT analysis of your healthcare organization.