A SWOT analysis requires an internal and external environmental scan of issues that would influence the cost of healthcare (Ghazinoory, Abdi, & Azadegan-Mehr, 2011; Hamidi & Delbahari, 2011). These issues are evaluated by reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the organization and their effects on the delivery of health services (Hamidi & Delbahari, 2011). Some data sources that could be included in the SWOT analysis are industry reports, patients’ feedback, medical records, and expert opinions. White and Blaiser (2011) mention some of these data sources in an article that describes different techniques for conducting a SWOT analysis.
Insurance companies, government agencies, and employers are stakeholders who should be involved in the external environmental analysis because their contributions are primarily focused on system-wide changes in healthcare management. Comparatively, patients and hospital administrators should participate in the internal environmental scan because they represent the dichotomy of patient care delivery. In other words, healthcare practitioners provide care and patients receive it.
These stakeholders can be involved in the SWOT analysis if they are invited for group discussions or contacted through email. Comprehensively, seeking their participation in strategic planning should help in the reduction of waste and the maximization of organizational efficiencies because their participation would create stakeholder buy-in.
Although the above-mentioned groups should participate in all stages of the strategic planning process, it is important to note that they may have different values and systems that could influence their contributions to the strategic planning process. For example, insurance companies are primarily motivated to make a profit, while government agencies strive to promote fairness and justice in the payment of healthcare services. Failing to incorporate the government as a stakeholder group could affect the strategic planning process by lowering the level of compliance with existing laws.
Nonetheless, since patients are the main stakeholder group influencing how the strategic planning process should be implemented, their interests guide the goal-setting process (Houston, Bradham, Muñoz, & Guignard, 2011). Therefore, stakeholders with interests that align with those of patients may have a stronger impact on the strategic planning process compared to those whose interests are maligned with patient-centered goals. For example, if patients’ interests do not guide the strategic planning process, those of other stakeholders, such as insurance companies, which are focused on profit-making may become dominant. Therefore, the focus on patients’ interests in the strategic planning process could significantly affect the quality of decisions made in the strategic planning process.
Ghazinoory, S., Abdi, M., & Azadegan-Mehr, M. (2011). SWOT methodology: A state-of-the-art review for the past, a framework for the future. Journal of Business Economics & Management, 12(1), 24-48.
Hamidi, K., & Delbahari, V. (2011). Formulating a strategy for a university using SWOT technique: A case study. Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences, 5(12), 264-276.
Houston, K, T., Bradham, T. S., Muñoz, K. F., & Guignard, G. H. (2011). Newborn hearing screening: An analysis of current practices. Volta Review, 111(2), 109-120.
White, K. R., & Blaiser, K. M. (2011).Strategic planning to improve EHDI programs. Volta Review, 111(2), 83-108.