How Do I Conduct a SWOT Analysis of a Hospital?

Autumn Rivers

A major component of strategic planning is determining a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). Whether you are planning to build a new hospital or simply want to increase business for an existing location, a SWOT analysis of a hospital can help you make some decisions. Things to consider in your analysis include the hospital's strengths and weaknesses, which may include its location, costs and the services it provides. It also can be helpful to consider the opportunities the hospital may have, such as new technology or an opening left by a hospital that is no longer in the community. Threats to your business, including other hospitals nearby, the economic climate and a decreased demand for services, also should be considered in a SWOT analysis of a hospital.

The first phase of a SWOT analysis of a hospital is to consider the internal factors, such as the strengths and weaknesses.
The first phase of a SWOT analysis of a hospital is to consider the internal factors, such as the strengths and weaknesses.

The first phase of a SWOT analysis of a hospital is to consider the internal factors, such as the strengths. For instance, you may want to think about whether you offer services that few others do, especially if your prices tend to be more reasonable than other healthcare centers. You also may have a particularly good reputation in your community or you may be located in an area that does not have any other hospitals nearby. Thinking about whether your employees offer more expertise than your competitors also can help in a SWOT analysis.

After considering your strengths, it makes sense also to think about your weaknesses when conducting a SWOT analysis of a hospital. For example, maybe your location is poor, perhaps in a location far away from most residents of the city, or does not offer much parking space. You might fall behind other hospitals when it comes to technology, range of services offered, or your employees' years of experience. These factors could result in your hospital losing business to its competitors, unless you identify and resolve the problems.

External factors that you cannot directly control also should be considered, with opportunities being an important feature to examine. For instance, think about whether any competitors have recently moved, stopped offering certain services or shut down entirely. You also may want to consider any new technology that may be available to you, as well as any increased need for medical services in your facility's service area. Once you have determined the opportunities for your business through a SWOT analysis of a hospital, you can take advantage of them.

Other external factors to consider include threats to your business, which you need to pinpoint and for which you should prepare. One example is a new competitor with experienced employees, a wide selection of services, or a particularly good reputation. Insurance changes also may threaten your hospital, because you may have to drop some providers, while others may simply pay less so patients are less likely to seek medical care. Additionally, a new hospital in the area, decreased demand for medical services in your city, and a loss of population in the community all may serve as threats for your business.

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Discussion Comments


@Ceptorbi, I know what you mean. I prefer a certain hospital in my town because of its affiliation with the local university. The physicians there are considered more knowledgeable because of their affiliation with the hospital and their teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows. They are considered "experts" in their fields, and the hospital always uses the latest technology so patients feel confident they will receive excellent care and up-to-date procedures and treatments.

I think offering a wide range of services is a strength to consider in a hospital. For example, some hospitals don't offer ophthalmology care so urgent care for ophthalmology patients with ruptured globes and other eye emergencies is not available at those institutions. Some hospitals don't offer maternity care. In a large city or in a rural setting, a hospital that offers a wide range of services will attract more patients. Hospitals that take a wide range of insurances will appeal to patients also. Also, in my area, I go to one hospital over another because the location of the other hospital is in an inner city area deemed unsafe by local residents due to the high crime area. There is limited parking, too.
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