The start of a new year—along with pretty much any other date—is a good time to assess your physician practice's marketing position and plan for the future. What’s going well? What isn’t? And how to distinguish critical information from the superfluous? One time-tested approach is to do a SWOT analysis—strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Here are the basics.
Strengths. What are your strengths in your marketplace? Put another way, what distinguishes you from your competitors in a positive way? Do render a service they don't? Is your clinical quality and outcomes better? Reputation? Patient satisfaction? You goal is to capitalize on these strengths.
Weaknesses. This might be the converse of your strengths, but not necessarily. Be honest with yourself about your practice's weaknesses. This is the only way you can improve. Remember that your weaknesses that lead right into …
Opportunities. What’s new? Is there a new service line or product you can add to your practice. Maybe there's an opportunity to open a satellite office. What about joint venture opportunities? One often overlooked opportunity is the ability to reengineer your practice to make it more effective, efficient, and profitable.
Threats. Recognizing threats early and planning to meet them can spell the difference between a thriving and a failing physician practice. How is your practice going to address shrinking reimbursements, competition from hospital employed physicians, lowered profit margins, physician practice mergers, and Accountable Care Organizations?, just to name a few.
The only thing constant in healthcare these days is change – and change is what creates opportunities and threats. So plan to capitalize on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses and take full advantage of change in 2012.