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What Is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a great business planning and analysis framework designed to help organizations analyze their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By assessing these elements of your company, you can explain SWOT analysis to your team and, set yourself apart from your competitors and grow your business.

What Does SWOT Stand For?

The acronym “SWOT” stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and treats.” Strengths are your core competences as a business, which help set yourself apart from your competitors. Weaknesses are areas where you can improve or where your competitors outperform you. Opportunities are elements of the market that you could potentially use to your advantage, whereas threats are market elements that could cause you problems in the future.

Why Should You Do a SWOT Analysis?

The basic idea behind the analysis is to look at these four elements to see both internal and external factors that could influence your company. By separating positive and negative factors both inside and outside your business into groups and looking at each of these groups of factors separately, you can help reveal new information that you hadn’t previously thought of. This can help you conduct general market analysis, outline a business impact analysis of a new direction in your company or do a thorough customer analysis to help you see your business as your customers see it.

How Should You Do a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analyses work best in meeting settings. If you run a large company or team, plan a meeting with key players and decision makers. If you run a small independent business, try a brainstorming meeting with your employees or even a trusted friend or mentor. Start by defining your business and setting up a profile of your business as a whole. Then, draw out a square-shaped chart with one of the SWOT groups in each square. This is the standard SWOT market analysis template. Ask for input from each person at the meeting, and add them to the appropriate category. If a suggestion overlaps, add it to the space between two categories.

What Are Questions to Ask During a SWOT Analysis?

Some good topics to bring up during a SWOT analysis are things that your business does best, the price of your products or services, customer feedback, things that help you win sales, things that make you lose sales, your company’s financial position, changes in the market, changes in government policy, local infrastructure and technology. Do as much research as possible before you start the analysis, and print off any supporting material.

How Do You Use a SWOT Analysis?

You can use a SWOT analysis for a number of things. The “Strengths and Weaknesses” sections can help you improve your human resources, customer service policies and other internal company policies so that your company runs smoother and you build a solid reputation with your customers. You can use the “Opportunities and Threats” categories to help you carve out a new marketing strategy or develop new products.


swot analysis in healthcare strategic planning

swot analysis in healthcare strategic planning

SWOT Analysis in Healthcare: A Self-Exam to Identify Primary Areas of Focus

Swot Analysis in healthcare

Business marketing books are often aimed at MBAs who understand marketing jargon, not busy medical practitioners. As a result, you may not fully understand the steps necessary for growing your medical practice and attracting new patients.

You may have survived so far with a great location, trained staff, and excellent patient care. While hard work and planning are essential for any medical provider, flourishing in today’s highly competitive, ever-evolving consumer healthcare environment takes strategic planning.

And strategic planning requires upfront analysis. That’s where SWOT analysis enters the picture. What is it? And how does it benefit your healthcare practice? In this article, we will answer those questions and more.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT analysis should be a strategic planning staple for all businesses, including healthcare practices. SWOT is an acronym for the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats involved in your medical practice.

SWOT analysis is a data-gathering process that combines quantitative and qualitative information. There is no single correct method for SWOT analysis. However, the size of your medical practice, the frequency of strategic planning meetings, your practice goals, and the changing markets are significant factors that affect the process.

Swot Analysis in healthcare

Why You Need SWOT Analysis in Healthcare

SWOT analysis for your hospital or medical practice is like driving a car across the country. You must know where you are starting, understand your car’s present condition, set milestones to help you reach your destination, and anticipate threats you may encounter along the way. Before you start, you need a good map. That’s why you need a SWOT analysis.

A SWOT analysis is also essential for a medical practitioner because it can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, reveal opportunities you can exploit to expand your practice and recognize threats against your practice that you may have overlooked. Let’s take a closer look at the four pillars of SWOT.

Four SWOT Analysis Process

1. strengths.

Swot Analysis in healthcare

Identify your strengths and leverage their power to establish your brand. You can quickly identify your strengths through dialogues with your staff. Your internal strengths may include skilled and experienced staff, few bad debts, a strong brand name, a solid patient base, an excellent location, etc. Answer questions such as:

  • What inspires new patients to come to you?
  • What advantages does your practice have over local competitors?
  • Do you have access to any unique resources?

2. Weaknesses

Swot Analysis in healthcare

Identify areas of underperformance or weakness in your practice. Be realistic and develop a strategy to address your challenges. Dig deep to understand how your patients perceive your practice. Some typical examples of weaknesses in medical practices include staff shortages, long waiting times for patients, poor financial management, high staff turnover, poor location, shabby premises, outdated equipment, and inability to attract new patients. Answer questions such as:

  • What factors cause you to lose patients or prevent you from attracting new ones?
  • How do you measure up against competitors?
  • How do your patients perceive you?

3. Opportunities

Swot Analysis in healthcare

These are favorable external factors that could give you a competitive advantage. Since opportunities typically arise from situations outside your practice, you should always keep an eye on your future possibilities. You can pinpoint and exploit opportunities that can make a huge difference in your ability to compete in your market. Your opportunities might include:

  • A market vacated by a competitor
  • Availability of new technology
  • Changes in your population profile
  • Changes in patient needs
  • Vulnerability of a competitor
  • Lack of dominant competition
  • A new, more profitable market segment
  • New vertical, horizontal, or niche markets

Use your SWOT analysis to answer questions such as:

  • Where are the obvious opportunities facing you?
  • Are there any emerging medical trends that may provide opportunities?
  • Are there any special market conditions that may open doors for your medical practice?

Swot Analysis in healthcare

Be realistic about the threats you face when you conduct your SWOT analysis in healthcare. The sooner you accept and face your threats, the sooner you can begin to overcome them. Identify where your practice is and where you expect it to be in the future. Visualize how you will overcome your obstacles. Differentiate minor threats from those with the potential to destroy your practice.

SWOT Analysis in Healthcare: A Self-Exam to Identify Primary Areas of Focus

For example, your competitor’s newly renovated office or new equipment may make your practice look old and obsolete. This could result in you losing patients. Anything that gets in the way of your goals is a threat. The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to protect your practice against threats such as stiff competition, staff dissatisfaction, security breaches, or dissatisfied patients. Answer questions such as:

  • What difficulties do you face?
  • Should you be worried about your competition?
  • Are technological advances making your practice look obsolete?
  • Could any of your weaknesses threaten your business?
  • Can you convert threats into opportunities?

What Are the Four Main Benefits of SWOT Analysis?

1. swot prepares you for future obstacles.

Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. If you’re unprepared for coming changes, you’ll find yourself at a competitive disadvantage. When COVID-19 struck in 2020, providers that offered virtual doctor visits had a distinct advantage over those that didn’t.

SWOT is proactive by design. When you and your team discuss future threats that could hinder your progress and hurt profitability, SWOT helps you develop strategies against those threats, possible changes, or uncertainties.

2. SWOT uncovers untapped opportunities

There’s always room for progress in healthcare. Often, your practice’s progress and growth plateaus. This plateau is a sign that you need fresh ideas to help your medical practice reach the next level. SWOT helps you find new possibilities that your competitors may not be aware of. It can supercharge your practice with competitive advantages in profitability and long-term success.

3. SWOT eliminates tunnel vision

It’s easy to be biased toward your practice. It’s easy to think your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses and disregard potentially harmful pitfalls waiting just around the corner. SWOT helps you avoid being short-sighted in your future decisions.

SWOT helps improve your peripheral vision, so you can be more objective in your decision-making. By performing a SWOT analysis, you can identify and turn your weaknesses into strengths.

SWOT Analysis in Healthcare: A Self-Exam to Identify Primary Areas of Focus

4. SWOT helps you reverse engineer your competitors

Another great benefit of SWOT is analyzing your competitive landscape. You can conduct a SWOT analysis of your competition just as you did for your practice. Knowing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can give you an unmatched market advantage. SWOT can be a great tool if you’re in a competitive environment where multiple providers in the same specialty are competing for the same patients at the same prices.

How To Do A SWOT Analysis in Healthcare

Start by defining success as you see it, both as an individual and a medical practitioner. Be specific about your goals and envision your current practice. Base your SWOT analysis on a vision that emphasizes your strengths and maximizes your opportunities. Let’s look at four steps for conducting SWOT analysis in healthcare:

Step 1: Gather key data

The best-run, highest-performing hospitals are data-driven. The first step of SWOT analysis in healthcare is collecting and assessing important data. This includes patient health records, claims statuses, and funding sources. Focus on key metrics that relate to your strategy. Identify your organization’s capabilities. Is your emergency room slow, or is it like others in your area? Understand what your organization does well—and what it doesn’t.

Step 2: Complete SWOT categories

Use the data you collected in step one and organize it into the four SWOT categories: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Remember that your strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, while opportunities and threats are external, uncontrollable factors. SWOT is not entirely data-driven, but data can guide your thinking about what you’re good at and what areas need improvement. What are our financial strengths and weaknesses?

Step 3: Develop a SWOT matrix (optional)

Develop a four-box SWOT matrix for your practice or hospital business unit. If you have a small solo practice, this may not be necessary, which is why it’s optional. Your goal is to tailor SWOT to individual departments or teams. This will give you a multifaceted picture of your capabilities instead of generalizations.

Step 4: Complete the analysis and make decisions

Take what you’ve learned in the previous steps and complete your analysis. The insights you gain from the four SWOT categories and the box matrix will inform your strategic planning and influence your decisions. Focus your efforts on deciding how to use your strengths, overcome your weaknesses, minimize threats, and take advantage of opportunities that could move your practice or hospital forward.

Assessment time

Make it a collaborative effort and focus on evaluating your personal ambition along with the practice’s goals. You may find the process a bit uncomfortable, but it will provide you with the ammunition to overcome and respond to weaknesses and threats. Here are some basic ground rules to help you streamline the process:

  • Keep your findings in perspective by limiting yourself to a maximum of three factors for each of the four categories.
  • Avoid over-complexity and confusion by keeping your replies simple and short.
  • Be specific and avoid gray areas.
  • Aim to form a competitive business strategy that helps you gain an edge over the competition.
  • Brainstorm to convert weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities.
  • Make sure you have trustworthy information when you are analyzing various elements.
  • Avoid making decisions based on opinion or guesswork.
  • Prioritize your tasks and reduce the list down to a reasonable size.
  • Document a plan of action for each item or goal.

Once you have brainstormed on all these elements and evaluated your goals, you should have arrived at several tasks or items. These tasks or action items are what you should document in your SWOT chart. Go through the list and set priorities, make commitments, and come up with strategies to deliver on each item. Ask yourselves:

  • How can we use our strengths to reap more opportunities?
  • Can our strengths help us prepare for the threats?
  • Can our weaknesses be converted into opportunities?

You will need to answer these questions before you finalize strategies for achieving goals and positioning your practice for growth.

By using a SWOT analysis in healthcare to assess internal and external factors, your practice can unveil hidden opportunities while maneuvering potential threats.

Are you looking for swot analysis healthcare examples? Contact Practice Builders to discover how we can help you conduct a SWOT analysis or healthcare marketing strategies for your hospital. The result will be increased patient volume, enhanced reputation, and overall growth.

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A Step-By-Step Guide To SWOT Analysis In Healthcare [2023]

Sliman M. Baghouri

Sliman M. Baghouri


In this article, I’ll share with you what is SWOT Analysis, how you can perform it, AND how you can track your success using this tool.

This guide also introduces a brand new tool called SWOT Strategy Canvas™ that supercharges your SWOT analysis for better performance and measurability.

Topics that I’ll cover are:

  • What is SWOT Analysis in healthcare

Benefits of SWOT Analysis in healthcare

  • The 4 SWOT Analysis process
  • How to conduct a SWOT analysis of your medical business
  • What is the SWOT Strategy Canvas™ tool, and how to use it to track your medical business success?
  • Examples of SWOT Analysis across the healthcare sector
  • Practical SWOT action plan that you can quickly implement.

Without wasting too much time, let’s dig in.

What is SWOT analysis in healthcare?

While it might sound like you’re calling on a hostage-rescue law enforcement team, S.W.O.T is a strategic planning technique.

It is used to define your healthcare organization’s (or practice’s) Strengths , Weaknesses , Opportunities, and Threats in the competitive landscape.

SWOT Analysis arms you with a clear overview of critical metrics that are key for your performance and the overall success of your medical business.

There are countless benefits of conducting a SWOT analysis for your medical business. we’ll start by exploring a number of them.

1) SWOT Analysis arms you against future obstacles

Healthcare is a rapid and constantly changing industry. If you’re not ready for the forthcoming changes, you’ll have a hard time navigating the trenches.

Fortunately, SWOT is a proactive approach by design. When you sit down with your team and discuss future threats that could hinder your progress and profitability in the next year or two, you can prepare and develop strategies against any possible changes or uncertainty.

2) It uncovers the untapped opportunities for you to take advantage of.

No matter what kind of medical business you run, there’s always room for progress. But often, your business’s progress reaches a certain point and your growth will plateaus. This is a sign that you need to find new ideas to catapult your medical practice to the next level.

And here is where SWOT comes into play. It enables you to find new angles and possibilities that other competitors are not yet aware of. This supercharges your organization with competitive advantages when it comes to profitability and long-term success.

3) It gets your medical business out of the tunnel vision trap

We’re all biased towards our businesses. We think that our strengths far outweigh our weaknesses and in doing so, we disregard potential pitfalls that could break our whole organization. Being short-sighted when it comes to future decisions is the fast lane to a crumbling medical practice.

SWOT Analysis is one of the tools that we can use to combat our peripheral vision and be objective about our processes. The good news is, by performing SWOT, you drill down on your weaknesses and highlight all of your shortcomings so you can reverse them to strengths.

4) You can use SWOT Analysis to reverse engineer your competitors

Another great benefit of this technique is that you can use it to get a bird’s eye’s view of your competitive landscape. Just like you conduct a SWOT analysis of your organization, you can also perform it on your competition.

This will give you the unmatched advantage of being informed of competitors' strengths and weaknesses so you can act accordingly. If you’re in a competitive environment where the same care facilities are competing for the same patient at the same price, SWOT is irreplaceable.

The 4 SWOT Analysis Process

We know that SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats – but what does each of these elements mean? Let’s take a look at each element individually.

1) Strengths

This element is focused on the strong attribute of your business. Be it a great service line portfolio, unique medical skills, or a convenient location. It is worth noting that your strengths can be intangibles like brand loyalty or an established brand name in the market.

2) Weaknesses

From our work with our clients, we noticed a common pattern when dealing with CEOs and medical business owners. Medical business owners are somewhat aware of the weak parts of their business lack, but the problem is that the assessment of how weak those parts are is most often inaccurate .

An example would be when we ask founders about their brand, they think that just because they have a logo or a design identity, they have a brand. But they lack critical parts of what makes up a profitable brand like unique positioning, brand culture, and communication frameworks. (if you’d like to learn more, check our healthcare branding guide ).

3) Opportunities

In this part of the process, we dig deep to find the unmet needs of your patients. Needs that if you manage to fulfill, you gain their trust and skyrocket your patient retention. Looking for market gaps in your respective field is a gold mine for business success.

You’d be surprised by how beneficial yet-easy-turn-a-blind-eye on opportunities you can take advantage of.

Threats are everything that poses a risk to either your brand itself or its likelihood of success or growth. This could include things like emerging competitors, changes in healthcare regulations, financial pressures, and all else that could jeopardize the future of your medical business.

Assessing threats is the proactive part of the process and it’s a great way to step out of the “reactive” mode business owners always get caught up in.

How to conduct SWOT analysis in healthcare

Now we’ve got all elements of SWOT analysis covered, it’s time to start conducting this technique on your business.

Draw Four Quadrants of SWOT Analysis

Each quadrant represents each element of the SWOT Analysis. This provides you with a visual grid as to where to write down your findings.

A simple example of a SWOT grid should be like this:

You can use our free healthcare SWOT Analysis Template

Gather the information

After that, you start by tackling each element of the analysis and asking questions that can provide you with great insights.

#~1) Let’s start with Strengths:

This should be the easiest part of the process since it’s your business’s strong suit. But if you’d like some supportive questions to get you running, here are some examples:

  • What do your patients love about your brand or services?
  • What does your practice or hospital do better than others in your industry?
  • What are your most positive brand attributes?
  • What’s your unique selling proposition?
  • What resources do you have at your disposal that your competitors do not?

This should give you a rough outline of your fortes and competitive advantages.

#~2) Highlight your weaknesses:

Being objective about your weaknesses is critical. You should gather with your team to discuss some of the possible difficulties and flaws inside your organization.

You can use the same principle to determine your brand’s weaknesses:

  • What do your patients dislike about your brand?
  • What problems or complaints are often mentioned in your negative reviews?
  • Why do your patients cancel or churn?
  • What could your brand do better?
  • What are your most negative brand attributes?
  • What are the biggest obstacles/challenges in terms of revenue?
  • What resources do your competitors have that you do not? (even if it is intangible like better brand awareness)

This could be a little hard to get through but it’s worth the collective effort. You and your team should be able to uncover hidden inefficiencies in your practice.

#~3) Snipe the opportunities and mitigate threats:

You may find that determining the strengths and weaknesses of your organization is easier or takes less time than figuring out the opportunities and threats. This is because strengths and weaknesses are internal factors.

External factors (Opportunities and Threats), on the other hand, tend to require more effort and rely upon more research, as these are often beyond your sphere of influence.

That’s not to say that opportunities and threats cannot be internal, however; you may discover opportunities and threats based on the strengths and weaknesses of your company.

Some possible questions you could ask to identify potential opportunities might include:

  • How can we improve our patient experience/support processes?
  • What kind of messaging resonates with our patients?
  • How can we further engage our most vocal brand advocates?
  • Are we allocating departmental resources effectively?
  • Is there a budget, tools, or other resources that we’re not leveraging to full capacity?
  • Which branding channels exceeded our expectations – and why?

Introducing the SWOT Strategy Canvas™, a visual representation to measure your success

SWOT Analysis is insufficient alone to measure the success of your efforts or represent them visually.

That’s why our team at unnus developed the SWOT Strategy Canvas™ (SSC), a visual representation graph of the impact SWOT has on your healthcare brand. The SSC could be conducted every 6 months to track the efficiency and the effort of SWOT.

SSC graph tracks the Impact Rate of each element of the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). The goal is to witness a low Impact Rate of weakness and threats and a high Impact Rate of Strengths and Opportunities .

How to develop a SWOT Strategy Canvas™

#~First , When drawing the SSC graph, you need to split the SWOT elements into two separate lines.

The first line being Weaknesses-Strengths and will take the color blue, the second line on the graph is Opportunities-Threats and will take the color red.

You do that so you can better visualize their impact, more on this in a minute.

After that, you start drawing the x-axis and putting all of the data gathered from S.W.O.T in the following order:

1) Opportunities ➜ 2) Weaknesses ➜ 3) Strengths ➜ 4) Threats .

The x-axis will look like this:

#~Second , on the y-axis, is the Impact Rate. it ranges from zero to one, 0.5 being medium impact, 1 being high impact and 0 is none.

Here’s a good objective you should focus on:

  • For the Weaknesses and Threats, you should aim for 0.2 rates or below.
  • For the Opportunities, you should aim for 0.5 or above.
  • For the Strengths, you should aim for 0.8 or above.

After you finish drawing your graph, your SSC graph should look like this:

#~Third , let’s assume that you just finished conducting SWOT Analysis and you want to plot the current state of your company on SSC.

Before you use the SSC, you need to understand why we split elements into two lines (Weaknesses-Strengths and Opportunities-Threats) and why we gave each line a different color.

The reason for that order is simple : we want to see a divergence between the two lines (Weaknesses-Strengths line and Opportunities-Threats line). When the two lines diverge, it means that you managed to lower the impact of your business’s weaknesses and further improved your strengths.

It also means that the impact of the threats dwindled and got mitigated while opportunities have risen way up. (I’ll give example in a second)

This divergence is what you need to achieve. At first, the lines won’t diverge because you just got started. But after a year or two, you should start seeing a divergence between the two lines, signifying the success of your SWOT efforts.

#~Fourth, after filling the SSC graph with the data, you start by plotting and projecting the current impact of each S.W.O.T element of your business.

For each element ask yourself:

  • If it’s a weakness : How much impact this weakness is having on hindering our medical business growth?
  • If it’s an opportunity : What impact could this opportunity have on our business if we manage to take advantage of it?
  • If it’s a Strength : How can we further improve on this competitive edge and what impact would we gain after this improvement?
  • If it’s a threat : what’s the potential impact this threat would have on our business should we ignore it?

You don’t need an exact number, just rough estimates to help you gauge the current situation of your medical business.

Here’s an example of the SCC graph just after conducting a SWOT Analysis.

As you can see, Weaknesses and Strengths have a high impact by default since they are the current state of your business.

Opportunities-Threats are there but the impact of the threats should be lowered and the opportunities impact (or the potential impact in the case) should be higher.

And here’s an example of the SCC graph after acting out on the SWOT analysis (1 year after):

You can see that the lines are diverged signifying lower weaknesses and higher strengths, at the same time, reduced threats, and higher opportunities.

This is the power of the SSC, it gives a clear overview of the current SWOT effort and helps you see whether or not you’re on the right track.

Examples of SWOT analysis in healthcare

Now I’m going to share with you some of the best SWOT analyses across the healthcare industry so you can take some inspiration.

For the privacy’s sake of our clients, we won’t be sharing the names of their brands.

Hospital SWOT Analysis example

An example of a SWOT analysis for a hospital will look like this:

Another example from one of our client:

SWOT analysis for nurses example

The following S.W.O.T Analysis was conducted for a nurse-led clinic, an outpatient clinic that is managed by registered nurses.

Your Practical SWOT Action Plan (+example)

Having grasped the importance of SWOT analysis and observed its real-world application, it’s now time to dive into action with your own Practical SWOT Plan. The following is a simple action plan that you can get inspiration from when acting upon your swot strategy.

You can download our free SWOT Task Tracker and print it out.

1) Leveraging Strengths

  • Empowering Staff: Perform targeted training for the staff, elevating their expertise and skills.
  • Build trust: Showcasing positive patient testimonials and glowing reviews.
  • Reinforce marketing: Let your unique services and specialties shine brightly in your strategic marketing efforts.
  • Enhance Referral Program: Open the floodgates to new patients with a new well-designed referral program.

2) Addressing Weaknesses down junction sign

  • Bridge skill gaps: through tailor-made training programs for your staff.
  • Streamline workflows: with smart process improvements, optimizing every step.
  • Uncover valuable insights: Seek feedback from both patients and staff.
  • Learn from the best: Collaborate with other healthcare organizations to thrive together.

3) Seizing Opportunities  

  • Stay ahead of the curve: by expanding your services to meet emerging healthcare trends.
  • Embrace technology: By revolutionizing patient engagement and elevating telemedicine capabilities.
  • Forge powerful alliances and affiliations to access new patient populations.
  • Cast your net wide: with precisely targeted marketing strategies for specific patient demographics.

4) Mitigating Threats  

  • Safeguard precious patient data with fortified cybersecurity protocols.
  • Diversify your revenue streams, shattering reliance on a single source.
  • Navigate the currents of healthcare policies and regulations, staying informed and vigilant.
  • Arm yourself against adversity with rock-solid disaster preparedness plans.

5) Patient-Centric Actions .st0{fill:#ffc10d;} .st1{fill:#ffc10d;}

  • Forge empathetic connections by communicating openly and addressing patient concerns.
  • Empower patients through thoughtful education programs, championing their health autonomy.
  • Listen and respond to patient feedback, embracing their suggestions for growth.
  • Cultivate a nurturing community through patient support groups, fostering camaraderie and strength.

6) Monitoring and Evaluation  

  • Set sail with measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) guiding your every move.
  • Implement SWOT Strategy Canvas™ tool
  • Embark on periodic reviews, charting progress and charting a course toward improvement.
  • Steer your ship with invaluable insights from staff, patients, and stakeholders.
  • Navigate with precision, harnessing data analytics to navigate the impact of your actions.

7) Adaptability and Continuous Improvement  

  • Cultivate an oasis of innovation, encouraging staff to share their brightest ideas and best practices.
  • Ignite creative brilliance through regular brainstorming sessions, exploring new horizons together.
  • Fuel the spirit of progress by recognizing and rewarding employees for their valuable contributions.
  • Embrace the winds of change, setting sail toward new possibilities by staying attuned to industry trends and advancements.

These practical steps will provide a clear roadmap for success in implementing your SWOT Strategy. This will lift some of the hazy clouds surrounding how to implement this technique and leaves you with a step by step action plan for you to tackle.

The ‘secret’ to a battle-proven healthcare SWOT analysis

Effective SWOT Analysis must be carried with great execution. The tool might be easy to understand conceptually, but the devil lies in the details.

Risk assessment and marketing research is not something you can do half-assedly. It takes an experienced team and professional facilitators to pull off a result-oriented healthcare SWOT analysis.

If you’d like to run your own SWOT, we’re happy to chat with you about it .

  • what is swot analysis in healthcare
  • benefits of swot analysis in healthcare
  • the 4 swot analysis process
  • how to conduct swot analysis in healthcare
  • introducing the swot strategy canvas a visual representation to measure your success
  • examples of swot analysis in healthcare
  • hospital swot analysis example
  • swot analysis for nurses example
  • your practical swot action plan example
  • the secret to a battle proven healthcare swot analysis

Sliman M. Baghouri

Sliman M. Baghouri, Founder of unnus™, he coordinates branding strategies for healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to pharmaceutical companies.

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swot analysis in healthcare strategic planning

SWOT: The High-Level Self Exam that Boosts Your Bottom Line

How to bring maximum benefit to your twice-yearly marketing update..

Strategic planning demands realistic and objective assessment. At least twice each year, use the SWOT analysis to discover key internal and external issues and refresh the strategies and tactics of your marketing plan . Understanding where you are today is fundamental to achieving your future goals.

The well-known SWOT analysis appears disarmingly simple. But avoid the temptation do it quickly or casually. Taking this valuable analysis for granted would be downright unfortunate.

Thoughtfully listing the STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS of your situation should be done at least once a year...even better, twice a year. It's a "big picture" exercise that challenges you to compile, analyze and evaluate the significant influences that work for or against your strategic objectives.

When to use a SWOT

When you need a helpful perspective on how your healthcare organization is doing, a SWOT can be extremely helpful. You can use a SWOT to do any of the following:

  • Explore possibilities for new initiatives or solutions to problems
  • Determine where change is possible. If you find yourself at a turning point, taking inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can reveal priorities along with possibilities.
  • Make choices about the best path for your organization by identifying your opportunities for success and warding off threats.
  • Adjusting and refining your plans in the middle of their execution. New opportunities in a SWOT may open other decisions, while new threats can close paths that once existed.

A SWOT analysis is useful for hospitals , medical groups , and individuals in private practice —it helps focus your marketing in areas that harbor the strongest benefits. Here are a few ideas to maximize the value and generate effective strategies from this exercise.

Sketching the S.W.O.T. Quadrants

Create a four-part grid on a single piece of paper to provide an overview that helps visualize the relationships.

Healthcare SWOT Analysis

Identify and list the key elements in each quadrant. Get these down on paper as the first step.

Internal: Strengths & Weaknesses

The top two sections (STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES) both originate internally. These are things that you can control. Strengths are helpful; Weaknesses are harmful.

Strength in a SWOT Analysis

Your strengths involve what your healthcare organization excels at and what sets you apart from your competition. Is it your strong brand? unique technology? Incomparable results? You should be able to identify and analyze your Unique Selling Proposition and make this a part of your strengths section.

List of your capabilities and resources that can be the basis of a distinct competitive advantage. Your strengths are an integral part of your organization, so consider what makes it "tick." Ask: What are the most important strengths? How can we best use them and capitalize on each strength?

Strengths could include:

  • a new and/or innovative service
  • capabilities or cost advantages
  • cultural connections
  • extraordinary reputation
  • other aspects that add value
  • special expertise and/or experience
  • superior location or geographic advantage
  • Unique values that drive your organization

Weakness in SWOT Analysis

Weaknesses can be preventing your healthcare organization from performing at its optimum level. What areas need improvement (or should be avoided)? Higher than normal turnover? Inadequate supply chain.

Ask: What would remove or overcome this weakness? Weaknesses can sometimes be the absence of certain strengths, and in some cases, a weakness may be the reverse side of one of your strengths. Weaknesses might include:

  • absence of marketing plan
  • damaged reputation
  • gaps in capabilities or service areas
  • lagging in technology
  • management or staff problems
  • own known vulnerability
  • poor location or geographic barriers
  • undifferentiated service lines

External: Opportunities & Threats

The lower two sections (OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS) both originate externally. These are things that you cannot control. Opportunities are helpful; Threats are harmful.

Opportunities in SWOT Analysis

Opportunities in a SWOT analysis are favorable external factors that could give you a competitive advantage. Because opportunities tend to arise from situations outside your organization, you need to always have an eye on what may happen in the future. The ability to pinpoint and exploit opportunities can make a world of difference in your ability to compete in your healthcare market.

In addition to new or significant trends, what other external opportunities exist and how can we best exploit or benefit from each?

SWOT Opportunities examples might include:

  • a market vacated by a competitor
  • availability of new technology
  • changes in population profile or need
  • Competitor vulnerabilities
  • lack of dominant competition
  • new market segments that offer improved profit
  • new vertical, horizontal, or niche markets

Threats in SWOT Analysis

Threats can include anything that stands in the way of your success and can potentially harm your organization. No practice is immune to threats, but too many people miss, ignore or minimize these threats, often at great cost. Ask: What can be done to mitigate each threat? Can a threat become an opportunity?

You can identify threats in a SWOT analysis from considering what your competitors are doing and if you ought to change your emphasis to meet the challenge. Copyin gthem without knowing how it will improve your position can be a mistake, however, so always bear in mind that what your competitors are doing is not necessarily right for you.

Threats could include:

  • a competitor has an innovative product or service
  • a new competitor(s) in your home market
  • adverse changes in reimbursement or regulations
  • changing insurance plans and/or contracts for major area employers
  • competitors have superior access to channels of distribution
  • economic shifts
  • loss of key staff or associates
  • new or increased competition
  • seasonality
  • shifts in market demand or referral sources

1. Be Specific: Avoid gray areas, vague descriptions or fuzzy definitions.

2. Be Objective: Ask for input from a well-informed but objective third party; compare it with your own notes.

3. Be Realistic: Use a down-to-earth perspective, especially as you evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Be practical in judging both sections.

4. Apply Context: Distinguish between where the organization actually is today, and where it could be in the future.

5. Contrast and Compare: Analyze (realistically) in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition.

6. Short and Simple: Avoid needless complexity and over-analysis.

7. Update your marketing plan and goals: Once the key issues have been identified, define the action steps to achieve change.

Go ahead and send us your SWOT notes for a reality check when you finish.

With your SWOT complete, you’ll be on the road to completing a strategic healthcare marketing plan for your organization.

If you'd like to know more about putting this high-value assessment tool to work in your plan, we would be pleased to provide a well-informed and objective sounding board for you.

Call us today at 800-656-0907, or connect with us here .

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SWOT Analysis in Healthcare: A Self-Assessment to Keep Your Practice Growing

SWOT Analysis in Healthcare: A Self-Assessment to Keep Your Practice Growing

A SWOT analysis is a simple tool that you can use for self-assessing your healthcare practice’s internal strengths and weaknesses, along with external opportunities and threats. When done at least twice a year, SWOT analysis can help your team discover any key issues to update your healthcare marketing strategies and tactics for better overall ROI.

Strategic planning of your practice’s marketing not only helps you implement changes in the future but can also give you an overall picture of your current condition. This means you can easily document where you are now, where you would like to be, and what it will take to get there, starting today.

What is SWOT in Healthcare?

Many companies use a SWOT analysis to further define their brands, customer personas, common questions and problems, competition, and more. This gives them a full picture of who they are as a company or brand, who their customers are, and what obstacles they may be facing with competitors. Then, they can create structured and specific goals and milestones to help their marketing efforts increase ROI.

Just as in other businesses, healthcare practices experience competition. Practices with strong marketing strategies such as online presences, great online reputations, and intuitive automated patient tools tend to end up on top of their competitors.

SWOT analysis gives your healthcare team a chance to sit down and list out your current marketing efforts and what might need to be done in order to stay competitive in your vertical space.

Why Does Your Healthcare Practice Need a SWOT Analysis?

Essentially, a SWOT analysis will help your healthcare practice reveal hidden opportunities while addressing any potential threats regarding your marketing efforts. Once you identify your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, you can reflect upon, develop, and improve marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition and to increase patient acquisition and retention.

Elements of a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is traditionally conducted using a simple square split into four quadrants, with “strengths” and “weaknesses” across the top and “opportunities” and “threats” at the bottom. Then, the words “internal” and “external” are placed on the left of the box, top and bottom, respectively.

This grid is a simple way to list out and assess each component.

#1: Strengths

When assessing your healthcare practice’s strengths and weaknesses, consider everything from an internal perspective and what you have control over.

To start with strengths, list your capabilities and resources that you feel give you an edge over other practices. You may also consider anything positive that you hear consistently in patient feedback. This can include:

  • Unique or advanced equipment or services
  • Automated patient resources (virtual appointments, online check-in, online paperwork, etc.)
  • Established online reputation
  • Low wait times
  • Friendly staff
  • Convenient location & easy parking

This list of strengths will help you to notice what you have implemented already that is setting you apart from the competition.

#2: Weaknesses

Writing out your practice’s weaknesses helps you to place all of your thoughts for improvement in one clean list. This list can include things like:

  • Long wait times
  • Understaffed
  • Old or faulty equipment
  • Outdated technology/technology systems
  • Difficult appointment booking process
  • No marketing efforts or a low marketing budget

It’s important to try not to get too negative with weaknesses. Place focus on what is affecting patients and your practice the most and that you could control or change yourself.

#3: Opportunities

Opportunities and threats are both meant to be viewed from an external lens and are things you do not have control over but can either leverage (opportunities) or maneuver away from (threats).

Starting with opportunities, you may find yourself listing things like:

  • New real estate in a better location
  • Competitor relocated away from your practice
  • New technology advancements
  • Changes in patient needs/demands
  • Acquiring great new physicians and/or staff
  • Increase patient referrals

#4: Threats

List anything that you cannot directly control that may be threatening your healthcare practice. This can include things like:

  • New practice in the area
  • Loss of staff
  • Changes or loss in patient demand
  • Changes in the economy

Listing out threats to your practice can help guide your future marketing decisions to maneuver away from or avoid them completely.

Goal Evaluation After a SWOT Analysis

Once you have a completed SWOT analysis list, brainstorm your next steps. Focus on creating clear and concise goals that are reasonably attainable and include milestones to track your progress. Try converting your weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities with changes in your marketing efforts.


Once you have fully documented and evaluated your new goals based on your SWOT analysis, you should have a list of actionable items for you and your staff to start with.

Prioritize these new goals and tasks based on what makes logical sense to your practice. Delegate tasks and assign project owners, making sure to check in on milestones often. Document all goals and plans of action for the team to see.

While it may seem like a simple task to list out your practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, the best way to get the most out of your SWOT analyses is to dive deep and take your time. Set aside a few hours for a SWOT analysis meeting, to allow enough time for staff discussion as well as the final goal setting.

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What is a SWOT Analysis in Healthcare and Why You Need It

By Jessie Strongitharm , Aug 02, 2022

swot analysis in healthcare

In this fast-paced, ever-evolving world of ours, organizations who regularly assess their performance, market position and the “big picture” tend to be the most successful… and the healthcare industry is no exception!

Take the  COVID-19 pandemic  for example. Remember how certain healthcare organizations were able to rise to the occasion despite these destabilizing events? I certainly do. ( Looking at you,  telehealth .)

My point is, a SWOT analysis in healthcare can help organizations make strategic moves and get ahead of situations — even when they’re totally unprecedented. This strategic evaluation tool is hugely beneficial for hospitals and medical practices that face unique challenges from other lines of business. 

So in this article, I’ll discuss exactly what a SWOT analysis in healthcare is, and why you need to do it. Keep reading to learn more about this assessment technique and how you can apply it to your healthcare organization. 

Click to jump ahead

What is a swot analysis in healthcare, what can healthcare businesses learn from a swot analysis, elements of a healthcare swot analysis, examples of a swot analysis in healthcare, how to create a healthcare swot analysis, swot analysis in healthcare: 5 benefits for healthcare processes and patients.

  • SWOT analysis in healthcare FAQs

Shorthand for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats,  a SWOT analysis  is a simple and practical evaluation model. As a  gold standard technique for strategic planning , this exercise helps you understand the internal and external conditions that can make or break your healthcare service offerings,  sales operations and marketing plans . 

Here’s a quick video that explains what a SWOT analysis is in more detail:

When it comes to the healthcare industry in particular, conducting a regular SWOT analysis is vital to ensure an organization performs well. It does this by pointing out the areas where you excel and where you can improve. 

Below is a visual representation of this technique. Typically, each category explores aspects of a healthcare organization’s performance, resources and competitive position in the marketplace. These points are then arranged into a matrix for quick scanning.

swot analysis in healthcare

Return to Table of Contents

As we’ve seen in recent years, the healthcare industry can be an extremely competitive and volatile environment —one that’s constantly evolving. That’s why conducting a SWOT analysis enables hospitals, medical practices and other healthcare organizations to stay afloat despite major shifts in the market.

By identifying internal strengths to be played up, noting internal weaknesses and external threats to be minimized, and showcasing hidden opportunities that can be seized, a healthcare SWOT analysis puts an organization in a prime position to compete.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of these components.

Though conducting SWOT analysis for your healthcare organization is easy enough to do, you must approach the task thoughtfully ( read: objectively)  to reap the full rewards.

To help you with this, the following section takes a look at each element of a healthcare SWOT analysis. I also explore the kinds of questions you can ask to arrive at these conclusions.

Yep, you guessed it: strengths are the areas your healthcare organization excels at, and the qualities that set you apart from your competitors. From special skills and unique equipment, to accessible rates and first-class client programs, these are the ingredients you have direct control. They give you a relative competitive advantage.

Your organization’s Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) are a good place to start. Analyze what it is exactly that makes customers choose  you , and identify strategies to help you maximize each of those strengths. Note that your strengths can also be intangibles like brand loyalty, or an established brand name in the market. 

Some questions you can ask to identify your strengths are:

  • What do patients and clients love about your brand or services?
  • What inspires new clients and customers to come to your practice?
  • What does your practice do better than others in your industry?
  • What advantages do you have over local competitors?
  • What kind of talent do you employ? 
  • What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
  • What are some positive attributes about your brand? 
  • What resources and technologies do you have that your competitors do not?
  • Are there any markets you have unique access to? 
  • Are your service offerings diverse and varied? 

A word of warning: it can be difficult to be objective in your self-assessments. Make sure to list your strongest points, and try not to overinflate your abilities. 

Weaknesses are areas of your organization that could be improved. Like strengths, weaknesses are internal factors that you have direct control over. Some examples of weaknesses in healthcare include aspects like outdated healthcare facilities, inefficient information systems and lack of manpower or training.

Questions you can ask to identify your weaknesses are:

  • What do your patients or clients dislike about your brand or services?
  • Why do your patients or clients churn?
  • What problems or complaints are mentioned frequently in negative reviews?
  • What could your brand or organization be doing better?
  • What are the negative attributes about your brand?
  • Are there issues with your staffing? (i.e. retention or attrition) 
  • What are the biggest challenges your organization faces in terms of revenue?
  • What resources or technologies do your competitors have that you do not?
  • Which markets do you not have access to? 
  • Do you have poor differentiation from your competitors? 

Again, it can be difficult to take an objective view here. Psychology tells us that  most people tend to overestimate their competencies , so you’ll need to make a real effort to get real with yourself about the challenges your organization faces.

Bring multiple perspectives to the table and sift through your weaknesses as thoroughly and objectively as possible. That way, you can construct plans that actually address the real issues that hinder your success, and nudge your organization toward its full potential.


Opportunities are external factors that you can leverage (read: exploit) to gain a competitive advantage. These areas are aspects of untapped potential, including: market trends, new technology and shifts in consumer habits and behavior.

If your healthcare organization is able to rise to the occasion and meet these needs, you’ll be able to boost patient/client acquisition and retention. 

Some questions you can ask to identify opportunities are: 

  • Are there any upcoming medical or patient trends that you can capitalize on? 
  • Are there regulatory changes that can benefit your ability to do business? 
  • Are there new client preferences or buying behaviors you stand to benefit from? 
  • What emerging technologies do you have the ability to access? 
  • Are there any special conditions that can place your medical practice in a better position?

Because opportunities arise outside your organization, be sure to constantly monitor industry activity and conduct regular market research. With a little creativity and proactivity, you can very well hit the jackpot, and capitalize on that which others miss.

The fourth and last SWOT element addresses threats. These aspects represent the external factors that could impede your strategies and harm your organization’s ability to compete in the market.

As such, shifts in the competitive landscape are prime examples of threats. The arrival of new competitors, a new service offering introduced by a competing brand, economic fluctuations and changing regulations all fall into this category.

Some questions you can ask to identify threats are: 

  • What economic difficulties does your organization face?
  • What moves are competitors making that could impact your business?
  • Which technological advancements are making your facilities seem obsolete?
  • What supply chain issues threaten your ability to serve clients? 
  • Which regulatory conditions hinder your chance at success? 

swot analysis in healthcare

TLDR: The more you know, the better. By proactively identifying these challenges, you can reassess your strategies to account for, and mitigate, the impact of all of the above.

Now that you’re familiar with the building blocks of a SWOT analysis, let’s take a look at some SWOT templates to help you visualize how this process works. 

As mentioned, a SWOT analysis diagram is typically segmented into four parts — one per category. Most templates use quadrants or matrices, though other systems of division (like those shown in the examples below) can do the trick.

swot analysis in healthcare

The above example of a  competitive SWOT Analysis  uses a modified quadrant system to depict each element. And that’s exactly why SWOT analyses are so great! This strategic tool is highly flexible, and can be used to discern not just an organization’s overall standing, but specific facets — such as one’s competitive positioning — too.

swot analysis in healthcare

Ready to apply this strategic planning technique to your medical practice or healthcare organization? Follow these steps to get started!

Step 1: Define your objective and collect your data 

To borrow from what I wrote previously re:  conducting a marketing SWOT analysis , the first step to successfully create a healthcare SWOT analysis is to identify what your intention is. 

For example: are you looking to assess your overall business plan? Or alter your current trajectory? Are you thinking about entering a new market? Or trying out a new technology? 

No matter the specific use case, know that the more specific your intention, the more useful the outcomes of your analysis will be. 

Second, know this: Cold, hard facts are king. Meaning, any evaluation must be grounded in them to be useful. 

As such, you should start your SWOT analysis by gathering all the data you need to make a sound assessment. Examples of this include: patient logs, insurance claim records, staff databas and customer/employee feedback, among others.

Listen, I get it — your libraries and archives are chock-full of information. So to streamline the process, be sure to select only what’s relevant to your current situation and strategies, or those that you’re working to analyze.

Of course, not all the information in your SWOT analysis will be data-driven — some will be based on qualitative assessments. But in order to be as objective as possible, try to supplement your reporting with factual evidence. This will bolster any strategic insights that do arise.

Step 2: Extract and classify your SWOT elements

Now it’s time to turn all that data into actionable information! A systematic review will show trends and insights that you can then classify as strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats. Pull this information from your research and categorize them accordingly, then write them out in point-form (being concise is key if you want a readily scannable document).

Next up, I’ll discuss how you can use  data visualizations  to impress any audience with your SWOT superbness. To start, however, you may find it useful to create a rough draft on a loose sheet of paper. This outline can guide you once you diagram your findings later on. 

(Apologies for sounding like a broken record, but make sure to be as objective as possible when scanning your data. This ensures your SWOT analysis leads to truthful, realistic and actionable insights about your organization — all good things to be).

Step 3: Use Venngage to visualize your data in a SWOT matrix 

So you’ve put in all the work — now it’s time to polish. 

With Venngage, it’s easy to serve up this vital information in a sleek, versatile and professional way… and all without any graphic design expertise. Simply sign up for a free Venngage account to access hundreds of  customizable SWOT analysis templates . 

Once you’ve logged in and selected a template, you can start customizing it and swap out or add any assets (i.e. text, icon and colors etc) into your design. 

swot analysis in healthcare

But wait, there’s more! 

Looking to keep your branding consistent?  Venngage’s My Brand Kit  lets you apply your brand colors and logos to any template with one click.

Want to get more eyeballs on your SWOT analysis before you present it?  Team collaboration  features allow you to invite members to your team in Venngage, edit designs together in real time, leave comments, create folders, save your creations as templates and more.

Step 4: Conduct your analysis and determine action items 

Once you’ve got your datafied ducks in a row and organized them in a neat and legible matrix, it’s time to study up and share! 

When you’re done creating your SWOT analysis in Venngage, you can share or download a high-resolution version either for personal use, presentations and business communications. Then, take the insights gained and use them to inform your plans, or re-calibrate any existing strategies. 

Note: Sharing is available free-of-charge, while a  Premium or Business plan  allows you to export your creations to PNG, PDF, HTML and Powerpoint. These plans also give you access to the  awesome features  mentioned above.

To summarize, here’s what a SWOT analysis can do for your medical practice or other healthcare organization.

Power up your strategy

First and foremost, the information derived from a SWOT analysis helps you strategize more effectively. By providing a high level overview of your positioning and competitive stake, SWOT gives you the ability to maximize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses and seize opportunities.

This can also help you fine-tune your marketing, communications and  patient education strategies .

swot analysis in healthcare

Build upon your strengths and bolster your returns

Indeed, being aware of your organization’s strengths via SWOT helps you maximize your strategic advantages. This not only ensures your best qualities are put to good use — it also significantly increases their impact and returns. 

For example, if your healthcare organization has high patient satisfaction, you can use this information as social proof  when reaching out to new markets . 

swot analysis in healthcare

Convert weaknesses into strengths

Being proactive is always better than being reactive. 

Much in the same way, being aware of the areas your organization needs to improve allows you to address them before they become a major problem. By identifying exactly what you need to work on, a SWOT analysis puts you in the best position to mitigate concerns as easily as possible.

For example: if your healthcare organization has a high turnover rate but partners with local universities, you could supplement your staffing with students who are eager to gain experience in the field. 

swot analysis in healthcare

Discover opportunities to boost your strengths and conquer your weaknesses

The great thing about this  strategic planning  technique is that it gives you a big-picture perspective, so you can determine how to best use the opportunities that come your way. 

Like the example above, you can use these areas to supplement, expand or support your existing set of strengths, and answer any gaps brought about by your weaknesses.

Plan for possible challenges and threats to the status quo

To be clear, external threats are a natural part of any competitive landscape. However, by anticipating them and having an action plan ready, you can minimize their negative impact on your operations. A SWOT analysis helps you do this by revealing the possible sources of such threats, so you can take steps to protect your organization from them. 

For example: if you know your patients are hesitant to show up because of safety concerns, your organization could offer virtual appointments instead.

SWOT analysis in healthcare FAQs 

What is swot analysis in nursing.

Besides helping healthcare organizations at large, SWOT analyses can benefit specific branches and departments too. 

For instance, in nursing – a crucial component of the healthcare system – this strategic planning technique allows management to better identify the strengths and weaknesses of their nursing teams and staff, as well as identify the opportunities and threats that could affect their performance. 

What threats would a nurse face?

As we’ve discussed , there are many threats that can impede a healthcare organization’s viability. In nursing specifically, some threats include the following factors:

  • Job openings at competing organizations or markets
  • Severe staff shortages 
  • Burnout and apathy
  • Dwindling nursing student enrollment
  • Increasingly heavy workloads
  • Workplace violence
  • Inadequate safety measures 
  • Stagnant wages

What are threats to a hospital?

Common threats faced by hospitals include major shifts in the market, such as:

  • New competitors 
  • New technologies that could replace specific skills or services 
  • Changes to healthcare policies or regulations
  • Shortage of tools, equipment and supplies 
  • Lack of funding
  • Geographical roadblocks

Curious to know more? Many of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations during the pandemic could be categorized as threats, since they resulted from external factors affecting these industries. 

All set to start your healthcare SWOT analysis? 

Congrats, you’re well on your way to becoming a superstar SWOTter! 

Now that you understand the basics of SWOT analysis and its many potential applications, it’s time to make this powerful strategic tool work for your own unique healthcare organization. As a result, you’ll be able to keep your current performance on point, all while strategizing for the future and staying ahead of the competition. 

With Venngage, you can get a head start on this process with professionally designed and pre-made  SWOT analysis templates . Click the big green button below to sign up for free, and gain access to hundreds of handy charts you can customize to suit your needs.

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Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

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Douglas W. Blayney, MD

The SWOT analysis, whereby leaders assess an organization's strengths , weaknesses , opportunities , and threats , is a useful and time-tested leadership tool. You may have encountered it in strategic planning exercises in hospitals, health care systems, or other business settings. The SWOT analysis is a structured, systematic way of thinking about, and exploring areas for business development, for resource deployment (including physical, personal, and intellectual resources), and areas of vulnerability needing improvement or development. JOP has featured a variety of practice, process, and quality improvement tools. Perhaps it is time to do a SWOT analysis on our discipline.

A strength of the practice of oncology that first comes to mind is its scientific and evidence basis. Almost all of our potentially curative, supportive, and palliative treatments are scientifically derived, with validated clinical trial evidence to support them. This allows the treatments we offer to be evidence based and quality focused. The motivation, caring, and compassion of our colleagues (very few of us are drawn to oncology who do not have care of the sick and vulnerable cancer patient as our primary life mission) is also our strength. Another strength of our current service model is team-based practice. Oncology patients receive care from teams with highly developed areas of expertise. These teams include our oncology nurses, office managers and staff, chemotherapy nurses in offices and cancer treatment centers, as well as a highly skilled and dedicated array of other physicians—surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, and diagnostic radiologists and their respective teams, to name a few. When necessary, we also coordinate hospice and palliative care services for our patients, as well as dietary, social work, and other support services. This complex, evidence-based, caring team approach is the strength of our discipline.

As I see it, we have two main weaknesses. The most obvious is that despite the decreases in cancer-related mortality we have in the United States, we don't cure everybody, or even everybody whom we should cure. The second weakness I see is our inefficient allocation of our limited personal time and energy with the patient—the 15, 20, or even 90 minutes that we spend with patients is never enough to meet their needs or fully coordinate the complexities of care. Related to the time problem is a reimbursement problem. Many commentators forecast the bankruptcy of our current payment system as increasing demands for services clash with the limited resources available for reimbursement.

Identification of opportunities is often informed by the analysis of weaknesses. Because we don't cure everybody, there are still problems that await repair, including resolving access-to-care barriers; development of clinical trials to test new agents and combinations of agents; and new treatment strategies that can be designed, executed, and reported. The coming changes in health care reimbursement mechanisms will create opportunities to add value to and be compensated for the quality and efficiency that are so valued by second- (eg, the patient or family) and third-party payers. The forecasted shortage of trained oncologists is an opportunity to redesign care-delivery models and perhaps re-establish what economists refer to as “pricing power.”

Threats to our professional efforts may come from these same second- and third-party payers, who will continue to press their desire to pay less for the services we are currently organized to deliver. The aging of the oncology workforce and the aging of the population threaten to overwhelm our current oncology care system. A potential “threat,” albeit one with a happy outcome, is that cancer will be cured with a simple measure or measures, and we will have little to do. The basic and clinical scientists with whom I speak tell me that this is unlikely, but let us work toward making this happy “threat” be realized.

A SWOT analysis; there you have it.

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  1. What is a SWOT Analysis in Healthcare and Why You Need It

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  2. A Step-By-Step Guide To SWOT Analysis In Healthcare [2022] (2022)

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  3. What is a SWOT Analysis in Healthcare and Why You Need It

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  4. A Step-By-Step Guide To SWOT Analysis In Healthcare [2022] (2022)

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  5. What is a SWOT Analysis in Healthcare and Why You Need It

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