This paper critically analyses Riverview Regional Medical Center case study written by Swayne, Duncan and Ginter (2009). It focuses on the evaluation of the key events happened during 2004 fiscal year at Riverview Regional Medical Center pointing out strengths and weaknesses of the operational activity of the medical center. It indicates the potential directions that its management should follow to guarantee the profitability and prosperity of this medical facility.
Six (6) Stakeholder Groups for Riverview Regional Medical Center (RRMC)
It is necessary to mention that Riverview Regional Medical Center is a member of the Health Management Associates since 1991. A corporate mission and philosophy of the Health Management Associates indicating the main milestones of conducting business has to be shared by RRMC. Patients, physicians, other medical employees, and communities will receive the highest quality of service and rewarding working environment by Riverview Regional Medical Center. Investors and co-sponsoring enterprises are the other two stakeholder groups for Riverview Regional Medical Center. RRMC will try to keep high rate of investments return for its investors and cooperate under the mutually beneficial conditions with its co-sponsoring companies in the further development of MedKey system.
Target Markets of Existing Programs and Gaps in RRMC’s Marketing Strategy
It is noteworthy that Riverview Regional Medical Center is not a leader at the local market of healthcare services in particular acute care. It is in a strong competition with Gadsden Regional Medical Center that succeeded to register a bigger number of admissions even with less number of beds.
As a member of Health Management Associates (HMA), RRMC should adjust its operational strategy to the corporate strategy of HMA. In 2004, Health Management Associates operated 53 facilities and aimed at providing up-to-date medical technology and management expertise with the aim to “reduce costs, attract physicians, and increase the scope and quality of service – all within a profitable network”.
Mr. Hayes considers that Riverview Regional Medical Center possesses the biggest advantages in cardiac services and outpatient surgery. Its target market includes patients who will go to the Heart and Vascular Center, Diagnostic Center, Heartburn Center as well as receive consultations and treatment at the renewed Emergency Department as the “front door” of the whole RRMC.
RRMC should focus its marketing efforts on promoting its number one position for the exceptionally high quality of the cardiovascular surgery according to the HealthGrades.com’s ratings. Moreover, MedKey system implemented by the Riverview Regional Medical Center providing various discounts to its members should be more publicly covered.
New Services or Products that Could be Developed with Existing Resources
It is worth mentioning that RRMC should use its renovated resources, in particular the Emergency Department and Diagnostic Center, more efficiently. Especially, it is related to the development of cancer diagnosis and treatment programs, neurosurgery provided by the RRMC’s competitors and not supported by RRMC.
Services that Need to be Strengthened and Promoted to Control Out-Migration from the Primary Service Area
Naturally, it is rightly pointed out by the authors of the case that no medical entity could control the out-migration process of patients who desire to obtain nonemergency care in the urban areas, for instance Birmingham. However, it is necessary to struggle for the market share in the acute care delivery realm.
It should be underlined that HMA “consistently turned hospitals into efficient, state-of-the-art medical facilities that provided high-quality care”. Therefore, the Riverview Regional Medical Center should compete with other medical centers in the field of providing high quality acute care for the patients. Renewed Emergency Department (ED), newly opened Heart and Vascular Center, and the complementary Heartburn Treatment Center with potentially high demand by the patients should promote the perception of the RRMC as the high-quality cardiac services provider. Swayne, Duncan, and Ginter (2009) stated that: “the completely remodeled ED paralleled a level of medical sophistication usually observed only in larger urban hospitals”. The promotion and the round support of the cardiology center, Heart and Vascular Center, should be the number one goal for the top management of the RRMC.
Moreover, Mr. Hayes addresses his attention to the improvement of the outpatient procedures convenience. RRMC opened a diagnostic center and created a Chest Pain Center as one of the planned steps in such an improvement. Mr. Hayes set an ultimate goal to decrease the ED length of stay in the same way. Such programs as the “Nurse First” and “One Call Scheduling” also address the improved convenience for the potential patients as well as highly professional physicians.
The support and further development of the MedKey system is considered to be important issue in gaining additional market share by RRMC and promoting the patient-oriented image. Win-win-win proposal for the MedKey members, RRMC, and co-sponsoring entities is a key marketing choice made by Mr. Hayes in efforts addressed to improve the use of existing facilities and to attract and retain more patients.
What RRMC Should Do to Counter Its Image Problem in the Community Because of Its Decision to Close the Women’s Pavilion?
Mr. Hayes as the RRMC’s leader understands that the closing of the Women’s Pavilion was an unpopular decision that caused misunderstanding, indignation and inconvenience to local people. Marketing efforts and commercials as their main part should be directed towards the creation of the RRMC’s image as the medical facility that operates at the market segment of acute care and is a leader in the cardiovascular surgery particularly.
Local community should receive a clear message about the core specialization of this medical entity with the emphasis put on the fact that RRMC strives for providing the best quality services for its patients. Attention of the local community has to be switch from the given “offender” status to the RRMC to the status of “professional counselor” in the field of cardiac services, outpatient surgery, and GI/endoscopy. The opening of the new Heart and Vascular Center, the Heartburn Treatment Center, is the confirmation of the declared integrated development of a narrow specialization of this medical center.
What Mr. Hayes Can Do to Improve the Relationship with the Medical Staff?
Roussel (2005) states that: “maximum information is important for the success of change”. The author asserts that the employees always perceive change negatively because it brings a feeling of insecurity, fear, and uncertainty about the future. The closing of the Women’s Pavilion that had a strong patient load caused a strained relationship between medical staff and RRMC’s management. With the aim of increasing working motivation and understanding the necessity of such cardinal measures, Mr. Hayes should explain the significant reasons of particular reimbursement issues that influenced not only the members of the Physicians Leadership Group, but also all medical entity staff. He should try to deliver this message emphasizing the new directions of the provided medical services, substantial improvement in the existing services that is already fulfilled, and planned steps that should be taken in the future. Consequently, the myth about the financial distress will be dispelled, and medical staff will feel more involved. They will become more committed, and Hayes’s ambitious plans to gain larger market share will be more supported by the increased productivity.