"VA Hospital - Executive Marketing Strategy" is an engrossing example of a paper on the health system. VA Hospital's major problem is that of getting its patients to attend their regularly scheduled appointments, but in solving it, there are other relevant strategies that will have to be successfully implemented to ensure growth and development, improvement in morale, reduction in \the attrition rates, positive changes in perception of the company’ s image, and diversity in its servicing capabilities, because of the interconnectivity of all areas of operations. Strategic plans will be outlined as to how this and other problems can be solved, especially after an analytical look is taken of the institution's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Success will be attained when the VA is practicing excellent time management, achieving efficient customer servicing rates, constantly creating and maintaining patient-friendly atmospheres, and optimally utilizing the most current technology available. A precursor to this will be the conducting of a Marketing Assessment analysis, which will enable the institution for certainty, to know exactly which segment of the market it must operate in, and how it should allocate its most important resources (Center for Business Planning, 2011) In terms of the methodology, VA should utilize surveys, questionnaires, interviews and innovative staffing measures, to ascertain the reasons for the tardiness on the part of a significant percentage of patients to attend their scheduled appointments. The results should be useful in the designing of promotional and advertising packages to alleviate the problem. VA Hospital, in light of the current global economic problems, will have to seek to recreate itself to ensure continued relevance.
This may entail introspectively looking at how it is perceived in the wider community and the development of alternate service packages that more fully utilize its highly technical levels of competence, training programs, monopolistic advantages, and financial stability. Performance Measurements, conducted on a monthly basis to ascertain trends and the use of Gap Analyses, which according to Berkowitz et al (1999), is the comparison of service expectations with actual service experience by customers, will enable more accurate assessment of the institutions’ progress, and facilitate informed decision makings at all levels (Berkowitz, et al 1999). VA Hospital will also have to look at its relationship with suppliers, partners, other stakeholders, as well as the environmental forces like social trends, economic conditions, technological development, and regulatory requirements to see how it realign itself to deliver higher quality services while remaining financially stable and medically relevant (Berkowitz, et al 1999). Finally, the institution in terms of motivation and compensation may have to utilize the South West Airlines performance for a compensation strategy, which according to Cohen, (2002), facilitated the workers in the company to conduct outgoing interviews from customers regarding their satisfaction, and how they could be better served in the future. These workers were allowed to develop a measure to affect the changes and then after approval, implemented them.
This resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars being saved, as well as higher remunerations and morale among staff (Cohen, A.R. 2002) Hopefully, at the end of the third year of operation VA, a should be in a position to determine whether it has successfully communicated its strategies to its internal and external customers and stakeholders, by examining its customer servicing rate of servicing, customer friendliness rating, financial performance, diversity of services, staff morale, training frequency, and technical relevance, marketing budget, and technical relevance; which are all vital and measurable performance indicators. Objectives The objectives of VA during this marketing program shall be; Raising the patient appointment conformance rate by 405 Promoting the institution’ s relevance in the external environment and especially among stakeholders Ensure technical relevance is maintained Promote compensation by performance among staff to maintain and improve morale Diversify service capability Recreate the VA image in the wider community Deliver high quality of service that will ensure constant improvement in customer satisfaction levels Remain financially and politically viable Mission Statement The mission statement around which the VA can successfully implement its marketing strategy will be, VA shall provide the highest quality services possible at all times to its customers, by utilizing the most technically competent staffing, leading-edge technology, a convenient and customer-friendly environment, and the most economical cost possible, in order to effect maximum satisfaction. Market Analysis Using the SWOT Analysis, VA perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are as follows, Strengths It is the only hospital of its kind in that geographical location- a monopoly Possession of the most highly skilled and competent medical, nursing and technical staff A going concern of vital importance to the country Strategically located near to the city Low cost Excellent bedding accommodation Underutilized potential to serve in another area Weaknesses Weak Operations Management Strategy Low levels of marketing The negative stereotypical image in the environment Under-utilized technology Low productivity per dollar per patient per hour Opportunities Can redeploy its staff to generate revenue in other institutions Re-creative potentials to offer diverse revenue-generating services Untapped market with known unmet needs Threats Poor attendance of patients reduces efficiency, and facilitate disunity Possibility of reducing government financing due to low service levels Attrition of valued staff Low morale due to inactivity The influx of private medical practices in the market The negative perception of possible customers Increase mortality rate among patients due to poor servicing Strategy VA should first conduct a Market Assessment to determine its truer position in terms of the segment of the market it should focus its advertising and promotions strategic resources.
According to Kotler (1999), in addition to having a well-defined strategy, a company must also have a well-defined methodology to implement it (Kotler, 1999). However, according to Center for Business Planning (2011), a company must determine if it falls into (a) a market that is very attractive, has growth potential and the enterprise is among the strongest (b) a market that is very attractive, but the enterprise is among the weakest, (c) if the market is weak in the industry, but the enterprise is strong, or (d) if the market is unattractive and the enterprise is very weak (Center for Business Planning, 2011). In the case of scenario one, the enterprise would adopt the strategy of investing its best resources, while segment two would require a strengthening of the enterprise as a stepping stone to further advancement, and segment three would necessitate effective marketing and sales effort to increase the profit levels, but in the fourth, promotions of the services offered can only be pursued if the entity provides support for the more profitable arms of the company (Center for Business Planning, 2011). In the cases of VA, it falls into the first segment, holds a monopoly, and therefore should invest its best resources to ensure the maintenance of market dominance Methodology VA should design surveys, questionnaires, schedule interviews, and make home visits to ascertain the reasons why patients are tardy in their response to their medical appointments. The institution’ s management should also implement a performance by compensation motivational strategy, similar to the one adopted by South West Airlines in 2002, according to Cohen (2002).
Nurses, doctors, and other technical staff, in this case, should be given the responsibility to record patient’ s reactions to the quality of services offered and how they can be improved (Cohen, A.R. 2002). They should then be allowed to implement strategies to correct the dissatisfactions and be rewarded for it. Recreating the institution by advertising it as an entity that has high-quality staff, technical equipment, low cost, and customer friendliness unmatched elsewhere to offer diverse services, should be extended for at least six months to ensure market saturation of the concept. Finally, the institution should look at all its connections beginning with suppliers, alliances, training companies, and the community to see how it can better deliver higher quality services to its customers, in terms of the frequency of operations, the lengths of post-operative treatments, the quality, prices, training and servicing of equipment purchased, as well as other factors, Additionally, in an effort to generate revenue to initially finance the novel advertising, promotional, and marketing programs, the institution should offer the services of its underutilized human resource personnel to other institutions on a temporary basis.
This should be followed by allocating increasing similar or greater budgetary amounts each year for the three years, to ensure continuity of the program, until the success is visible and achievable in the eyes of all relevant stakeholders. Conclusions The successes of the strategies are dependent on those responsible to implement them immediately, to ensure they operate concurrently.
This will ensure the generation of synergy within the institution because the benefits generated from one area will positively impact the operations of other areas. Management by Exception should be embraced throughout the applications because of the nature of the organization. In a life-saving entity, when practices that are not desired are constantly sought and removed, operations only auger well for the constant achievement of the institution's goals and objectives going forward.
1. Berkowitz, E.N., Kerin, R.A., Hartley, S.W., Rudelius, W., (1999). Marketing 6th edition Irwin/McGraw –Hill Boston, MA p349
2. Cohen, A.R., (2002). The Portable MBA in Management John Wiley and Sons Inc New York NY pp.353-354
3. Center for Business Planning (2011) Marketing Plan www.businessplan.org/market.html 06/06/11
4. Kotler, P., (1999).Kotler on Marketing The Free Press, New York, NY p.17