SWOT Analysis of a Community Health Center

I’ve had a dream.
In our messed up, dysfunctional macro-healthcare system, I’ve dreamed of empowering providers to play a part in designing and implementing clinical processes that make our micro-systems work in each unique clinical environment.
Everyone involved in providing clinical care–from patient service representatives, to medical assistants, to physicians, to our medical records peers, health educators, case managers and janitors and more–knows what works and doesn’t work in their day, the bottlenecks and resources that make it easier or harder to do their jobs–and many are eager to share their knowledge, if asked.
Sadly, provider empowerment has been difficult in an administrative-driven top-down “let’s try this!” approach to shaping ourselves to be a patient centered medical home.
Sadly, patient centered has meant implementing measures that create un-centered providers. Happy providers make happy patients. Unhappy providers make unhappy patients, no matter how many of the check-boxes we are able to check off to be able to call ourselves a patient-centered medical home.

Today, I’m one step closer to the dream of provider empowerment. I met the new Chief Operating Officer of the clinic–on the floor! She had come down to observe clinic flow and understand what we were doing on the ground to take care of patients. Once I figured out who the stranger in the hallway was, I buttonholed her. “What is your first priority? Then what?”

Her “then what” was to learn more about the daily operations of the clinic. And to ask me what I thought should be done next.

It felt wonderful to get that question. To have administration reaching out to clinicians to help shape health center priorities and pursue collaborative problem solving.

To hear the full voice of clinic staff, I will be working with the clinic manager to lead a SWOT analysis gathering input from the entire clinic team.
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats.

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I see a wonderful opportunity to hear from all members of the healthcare team, on what works and doesn’t work for us, and together explore positive responses to our shared problems.

Ending burnout. Ending provider attrition. Optimizing patient care.
Together we can implement my dream: a provider-centered patient-centered medical home.

2 thoughts on “SWOT Analysis of a Community Health Center

  1. Thanks for this post. The issue of physician and staff disempowerment is (in my experience) real and serious. I don’t know if some of it has to do with the corporatization of medicine, but our stories are echoed by those in other fields (e.g., teachers; employees of large or merged companies), where directives come from somewhere on high and one’s task is to step in time and, in our case, to collect metrics to “prove” that we are doing some aspect of our jobs. Very dispiriting. I hope that your SWOT analysis involves a real collaborative effort by all levels of staff–and that your new COO herself is empowered to use your input to effect change and to advocate to her superiors on your behalf.

    • A belated thanks for this post–here’s hoping for meaningful change. There was a fantastic article that just came out in the Annals of Family Medicine calling for a “Quadruple Aim“–needing happy physicians in order to provide quality care to promote health in happy patients.

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