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Contemporary health organizations are faced with daily challenges in finance, government requirements and policies, reform, technology, and even customer satisfaction in the wake of increasing competition. As such, it is necessary for health care institution managers to review their mandate in the form of strategic planning as a prerequisite for continued survival in a challenging environment. Through strategic planning, health care institutions can have a clear direction on where it is going and more importantly how to get there. This is mainly done in the form of documenting each and every decision and analyzing the potential challenges and opportunities that might arise along the way. Several techniques including SWOT analysis and PESTLE analysis are used in laying down a strategic plan as a roadmap to the future of the organization (Winston & Stevens, 2012). This paper highlights the strategic plan for Seattle Children’s Hospital by looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats presented to the institution in its 2012 to 2016 strategic plan.

Seattle Children’s Hospital 2012 to 2016 Strategic Plan

The hospital’s strategic plan is founded on its mission of preventing, treating, and eliminating pediatric diseases by enlisting the support of the community and institutional belief of inquiry and consultation. This is further reinforced by the institution’s belief that children have unique needs and that they need to grow up without illnesses or injuries. The vision for the strategic plan is to provide safe and effective care service at a controlled and reduced cost. Furthermore, the hospital aims at finding cures through research and educating clinicians and researchers on the best ways to cures diseases.

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SWOT Analysis for Seattle Children’s Hospital

Strengths

Seattle Children’s Hospital has a pool of highly skilled medical staffs that have been in the field of treating for a long time. Since its establishment in 1907, the hospital has cut itself a niche in the provision of effective treatment for children. This has made it one of the respectable health care institutions not only in the state where it is located but also throughout the country. The reputation the hospital has in the public will make it attract the best professionals in health care industry. The hospital has a history of successful treatment of children, and thus, it will always stand out as the first choice for parents, when their children fall sick. Continued research is also strength that ensures the hospital always has something new to offer to its clients. Equally, the practice of openness, commitment, and responsibility will increase the confidence of the patients as wel as the community which forms an indispensable part in the implementation of the strategic plan (Feynberg, 2011). Since the hospital is also a research center, the patients will be more than willing to participate in the research, and this will reduce the need for hospital management to acquire research materials from elsewhere. It will use its own patient as research specimen as patients have confidence in the professionalism at the hospital. The vision of the hospital is to include the community in the development of effective and safe treatment for children. As such, many local charities and even the local government within Seattle will be willing to participate in finding a  cure for children, and this will not only provide the hospital with a good reputation among the locals but also cheaper resources in terms of labor and expertise (Winston & Stevens, 2012). 

Weaknesses

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Chances are high that physicians and doctors at the hospital may not meet the expectations of the patients especially in terms of personal consultation. This is a result of expected increase in the number of patients during this period. Some targeted volunteer groups and the local government may not be interested in voluntary work as a result of the financial crisis in the world, which has caused job cuts and reduced economic power of many organizations. The number of staff, both medical and non-medical is not likely to be sufficient to meet all planned events and strategies within the period (Feynberg, 2011). As the hospital enters a new strategic plan period, the staff may not be well versed with their new roles within the hospital environment. This is especially so with regard to their relationship with patients, management, and the community around. As a research hospital, the management is likely to focus on research work and neglect other open events and community responsibility, and this is likely going to affect the relationship between the hospital and the community around. Moreover, the community may misunderstand the role of the hospital in implementing its research strategies and in retrospect may demand compensation whenever patients participate in the research activities. Finally, services in the hospital are likely going to be disrupted with the introduction of other additional activities from volunteer groups and the local government (Feynberg, 2011).

Opportunities

The hospital can attract many active volunteer groups to help in planning and organizing community based events. Patients also can be asked to give their opinion on the best ways of executing community based activities. This can be valuable especially given that it is the patients who know health related community challenges well. More experienced medical staff will be willing to give their professional advice to the hoospital management in terms of the best ways for managing research and open events (for both patients and the community, at the same time). Patients are also going to participate in the delivery of positive messages about the effectiveness of the hospital in treating children and the quality of health care services at the hospital. The research program can assist the hospital to attract more funding from the government and other donors. The modern technology equipment at the hospital can make it the referral hospital of choice versus other hospitals in the region that do not have similar equipment. Equally, the well-established communication system will help in communicating accurate and timely information to the staff and also patients outside the hospital. Moreover, other hospitals will likely approach the hospital for research information and thus increase the visibility of the hospital in the health care industry. This way, the hospital is also likely to tap in the high number of potential clients who are yet to use the services at the hospital. Research provides a powerful platform for advertising the hospital services. Finally, the hospital has more capacity to influence and control the health market by providing high quality health care services (Zuckerman, 2012).

Threats

Irrespective of its strengths, the hospital has a number of threats. Some patients might be unwilling to participate in research activities citing ethical and confidentiality issues. Patients are also likely to be coerced to participate in activities which they do not like. The recent law in health care implemented by the government is likely to increase the cost of treatment and thus reducing the purchasing power of patients. Moreover, the government regulations under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and policy requirements are likely to be stringent especially in the research activities. Equally, the general increase in competition from health institutions providing similar services in the country is likely to reduce the market share of the hospital. The hospital also faces the threat of closure upon failure to adhere to one of the policies or regulations by the government or other regulatory bodies. There is likely to be an increase in lawsuits for bridge of confidentiality and safety standards in treatment. Finally, the dynamic technology is likely increase the cost of acquiring new hospital equipment (Allison & Kaye, 2005).

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Conclusion

Seattle Children’s Hospital has a long history of providing health care services for children in the region. The 2012-2016 Strategic Plan is particularly notable because of the current changes in the economy of the country, as well as the recent financial crisis and the government regulations in health care under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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