Healthcare Case Study Having Grown Term Paper

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Trust and transparency with the public. Given the leadership position that Methodist Healthcare has it is imperative that it cultivate trust as a core part of its branding strategy with the public segments and audiences it serves.

Financial management and cost controls in place and integrated new IT system and architecture. This is a major critical success factor for Methodist Healthcare to aggressively pursue as it moves to create a more unified approach to financial management across its many medical specialty areas.

Strategic Objectives of Methodist Healthcare

The following are the strategic objectives of Methodist Healthcare. For each of these objectives a strategy for each objective's accomplishment is provided below:

To clearly differentiate Methodist Healthcare in the market

Strategies for accomplishing this objective:

While this first objective is very broad, Methodist Healthcare needs to define who they are different for. Uncovering the unmet needs of physicians is a first step, and what's just as important is discovering how better to serve the patient. This includes finding what patients most want in a healthcare provider but aren't getting today. By aligning closer than any other healthcare provider with unmet needs, Methodist Healthcare will become more differentiated.

To implement an information systems strategic plan

Strategies for accomplishing this objective:

Badly needed, the IT administrators need to consider a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) that will serve unify all applications and provide a 360 degree, real-time view of the patients and their needs. This is very important for the physicians to have on-hand quickly.

To reorganize so that Methodist Healthcare has the right people in the right places with the focuses in the right places

Strategies for accomplishing this objective:

Specifically looking at the most broken processes first, Methodist Healthcare needs to re-define roles and responsibilities to make this a reality. It would be better phrased to say Methodist Healthcare will pursue best practices in the most urgent areas of patient care and physician empowerment. The core processes must first be evaluated and then re-defined for greater performance.

To review financial issues to determine how Methodist Healthcare will finance the business and changes in the system

Strategies for accomplishing this objective:

The key strategy here is to create an integrated financial management system that can specifically manage the costs per incident, cost per patient care strategy, and an indication of what's most needed to gain greater insights into profitable decisions on care strategies and coverage of key practice areas. The role of an integrated financial management system must be part of a broader SOA architecture that Methodist Healthcare needs to gain greater insights into the operation of the many practices the healthcare provider is in.

To emphasize Methodist Healthcare as a learning organization committed to placing resources in and paying a lot of attention to the education of Methodist Healthcare associates.

Strategies for accomplishing this objective:

Often healthcare providers are most harried and the least focused on how to train their staffs to take advantage of new developments in medicine. What is needed is a comprehensive knowledge transfer program with the University of Tennessee so that staff and associates; including physicians, get the latest developments, possibly first discovered in their own hospitals by U. Of T. researchers.

Evaluating the Marketing Mix at Methodist Healthcare

Of all aspects of what Methodist Healthcare is dealing with, their marketing mix needs just as much help as their IT platforms and infrastructure. While today the healthcare provider is experiencing success with key programs, they could be much more effective if they made better use of the classical marketing concept of the 4Ps. In evaluating their mission statement, the voice of the customer needs to come out much more clearly. Based on an assessment of its vision statement and the foundational role it plays in marketing, it is suggested that the vision statement be amended to say the following:

Methodist Healthcare is centered on the values of being a trusted advisor and source of excellent healthcare for our patients and a responsive resource for physicians. Our aim is to be a world leader in our chosen practices, enhancing the lives of our patients, physicians and associates in the process.

Products or Services

Methodist Healthcare needs to create a consistent series of services strategies and align with a core set of practice areas. Today they are too diffused through many alliances and partnerships.

Focusing on outpatient services and how to become a national leader in terms of best practices is badly needed as a competitive position.

Pricing

Aligned with the economic level of patients and underwritten by Medicaid nationally and Tenncare regionally, this is a strength today for Methodist Healthcare.

Consider patient outcare services analysis and the pricing needed to be competitive in rural markets served.

Promotion

Focusing on success stories in cancer research for example and furthering thought leadership is critical for Methodist Healthcare to make the most of its partnership with the University of Tennessee.

Promotion of "big enough to meet your needs but small enough to care" to counter any perceptions of being too big to care for every single patient. The focus on accountability also needs to be clear from this messaging.

A messaging of transparency and trust must also be continually stressed to ensure growth of Methodist Healthcare long-term. The company must pursue the role of trusted advisor to patients.

Place or Distribution

Making the Memphis hospital a thought leadership campus with U. Of T. is critical, as Methodist Healthcare must continually look to underscore thought leadership through its many locations.

Considering the consolidation of facilities to make more efficient use of the more efficient locations, or the conversion of inefficient locations to outpatient centers by re-engineering them for an entirely different purpose.

Methodist Healthcare's Financial Condition

Fortunately for Methodist Healthcare their financial health is very strong in an industry known for consolidation and drastic cost reduction strategies. Starting with a $75.1M increase in net patient service revenues between 2000 and 2001, in conjunction with a net reduction of $28.5M in net accounts receivable dramatically increased Net Current Assets including Cash, Cash Equivalents, and Short-Term Investments from $172M in 1999 to $234M in 2001, signaling the processes of recovering claims from both Medicaid and TennCare are excellent. This process efficiency in terms of getting paid quickly is a major competitive advantage long-term for Methodist Healthcare and it needs to be continually enhanced and strengthened.

Despite the University Hospital incurring a loss of $2.8M in 2001, the near doubling of revenues from the Germantown Hospital more than offset the loss. Germantown posted Net Income of $5.2M in 1999 rising to $10.3M in 2001, which was the greatest Net Income growth of any hospital in the Methodist Healthcare network. The most challenging area of the integrated network however is the performance of the Mississippi Operations. This points to the need to get strategies in place for both connecting with Mississippi-sponsored programs comparable to Tenncare and also partnering with universities in this state. Ultimately Methodist Healthcare made the right decision to sell these facilities and retain just two clinics and minimize their losses in this area. From a more strategic financial perspective however Methodist Healthcare needs to create a series of dashboards where they can better manage those hospitals experiencing declining Net Incomes and see what corrective action they can take quickly.

Recommendations for Methodist Healthcare

There are many possible strategies for Methodist Healthcare to take, yet these are the most critical to take action on immediately:

Completely re-vamp the IT architecture of Methodist Healthcare to include a Services-Oriented Architecture that can deliver integrated financials and a 360 degree view of the patient. What's lacking in the current IT architecture is integration between the many systems in the network. This is a pressing need as it will eventually impact patient satisfaction and potentially the diagnoses completed by physicians who need the specific results of each test and need this 360 degree view of the patient.

Develop Voice of the Patient Advisory Panel and have the Board meet with them quarterly. This is also critical for understanding the needs of the patients, and specifically what they are looking for in a hospital. It's important from a service planning perspective to have this defined. Developing a Physician Advisory Council is also critical to understand their unmet needs.

Define a market positioning strategy that supports the revised vision statement. Methodist Healthcare needs to focus on time-to-value with patients and physicians both, and this starts with looking first at how to re-define broken processes that associates and physicians know about. Methodist Healthcare must…

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