Marketing Plan for Hong Kong Healthcare Organization Term Paper

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Marketing Plan for Hong Kong Healthcare Organization

Marketing Plan for a Healthcare Organization in Hong Kong Today

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One of the most interesting and economically successful places in the world today is the "Special Autonomous Region" of Hong Kong. Indeed, the region is "special" for a number of reasons, particularly its ability to navigate between the laws of its parent nation in mainland China while continuing many of the traditions inherited by virtue of its British legacy. One of the fortunate consequences of the region's unique history has been the development of a healthcare system that is equal or superior to virtually any country in the world today, but some problems with accessibility and affordability remain firmly in place for a significant percentage of the region's elderly citizenry as well. In this environment, identifying opportunities for improving the overall quality of healthcare services for the elderly in Hong Kong is not only a legitimate social concern, but also represents an opportunity for new providers of healthcare services that can do so in innovation ways. One such recent innovation in delivery of healthcare services is telemedicine, whereby a wide range of medical services, products and advice are providing over the Internet in various ways. This approach appears to be especially useful for the provision of various healthcare services to the elderly and infirm. In this regard, in the uniquely urban jungle that Hong Kong has evolved into today, the elderly may have problems traveling to, waiting for and receiving high quality healthcare services for the numerous maladies that go hand in hand with the aging process. Because this continuum of aged-related healthcare concerns are well documented, identifying and providing for the primary needs of elderly healthcare consumers in Hong Kong represents a viable enterprise and forms the focus of this study which is discussed further below.

2. Situational Analysis.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Marketing Plan for Hong Kong Healthcare Organization Assignment

Today, Hong Kong enjoys a free market economy and a leading position in international trade (Hong Kong, 2008). The special region of Hong Kong also maintains a unique relationship with its mainland counterpart in the People's Republic of China and trade between the two, as well as increasing travel and tourism, has also been experienced in recent years (Hong Kong). There have been some significant changes affecting the former British colony as well, including a transformation of its economic base from manufacturing to a services based industry (Hong Kong). Not everything is completely rosy in Hong Kong, though, and there has also been an increase in the use of synthetic drugs, especially among young people in Hong Kong in recent years (Hong Kong).

Today, by and large, healthcare in Hong Kong is world-class and provides adequate services for virtually everyone who needs it; however, there remain some significant constraints with timely delivery and the quality of services provided depending on the status of the individuals involved (Ramesh, 2003). As this industry analyst points out, "There is ample supply of public in-patient and out-patient [healthcare] facilities, which are available to all regardless of ability to pay. There are of course non-monetary costs involved in accessing health care at public facilities. The average waiting time at public out-patient clinics is two hours, while the waiting period for non-emergency surgery is nine months - the government has set a target of reducing the waiting time to one hour and four months respectively" (Ramesh, p. 107). The manner in which these healthcare services are delivered is a legacy of the region's past. According to this analyst, "There is surprisingly large government involvement in the provision of health care in Hong Kong [which] reflects the legacy of British rule in Hong Kong and the extension of the National Health Service arrangement it involved" (Ramesh, pp. 114-115).

Notwithstanding the significant investment in healthcare services and infrastructure over the years to the point where Hong Kong now enjoys a level of healthcare on par with any nation in the world, the system itself has not changed in substantive ways in response to fundamental shifts in lifestyles introduced by virtue of the Internet and other innovations in telecommunications in recent years. As Gauld (2005) points out, "While Hong Kong's health care services and facilities have moved in tune with a rising standard of living and other social changes and are now as advanced as those in any developed country, the system itself has remained largely static. The method of financing and delivery is little different now than it was when the government first promulgated its service policy in 1964" (p. 175). Given the enormously dense concentrations of residents in Hong Kong and the proliferation of high-rise office and apartment buildings throughout the region today, it is reasonable to suggest that a new niche exists for telemedicine providers. In this regard, Gauld reports that, "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is a developed, post-industrial economy with a population of nearly 7 million people. A geographical area of only 1072 square kilometers, combined with a mountainous topography, has made land for housing a precious commodity. Accordingly, population growth has resulted in increasing urbanization, with most people now living in high-density, high rise residential developments in the city and in nine new towns" (p. 173).

Moreover, Hong Kong is already "hard-wired" for telemedicine with almost half of the region's citizens (3.77 million) enjoying Internet access (as of 2006), and with this percentage expected to increase in the future as well (Hong Kong). In this environment, a real opportunity exists for new providers of telemedicine services in general and for those specializing in geriatric services in particular. For example, in her recent essay, "The Doctor Will E-Mail You Now: Physicians' Use of Telemedicine to Treat Patients over the Internet," Rannefeld (2004) reports, "The technologically advanced use of 'telemedicine' is a rapidly emerging concept that has the potential to change the practice of medicine and the interaction between physicians and patients forever" (p. 75). According to Rannefeld, "Telemedicine refers to the use of electronic communication and information technologies to deliver health care at a distance. Closely related to telemedicine is 'cyber medicine,' which involves the provision of medical advice and treatment over the Internet" (p. 75). Likewise, Barnes (2006) reports, "Telemedicine is a quickly developing means of health care delivery across the United States as well as around the world. This technical marvel allows patients from the most remote locations in the world to be treated by specialty physicians located in more urban areas by means of real-time encounters that vary little from face-to-face visits" (p. 491).

Telemedicine and cyber medicine are typically considered under the umbrella term, "telemedicine," and these emerging healthcare delivery systems may revolutionize the traditional approach to the provision of a wide range of healthcare services in ways that will make access to healthcare easier and more affordable for those who need it the most. Telemedicine is differentiated, though, from the broader concept of telehealth, which refers more generally to "the use of telecommunications and information technologies to provide health care services at a distance, to include diagnosis, treatment, public health, consumer health information, and health professions education" (Barnes, p. 492). In this regard, Rannefeld emphasizes that, "Telemedicine allows patients [to] communicate with physicians ('cyberdocs') through electronic mail ('email') or chat rooms, and cyber doctors then diagnose the patients' ailments and provide treatment advice. Another basic example of telemedicine in use today is communications between healthcare providers and their patients [through]... audio-visual conferencing. "Telemedical interactions between physicians and patients have progressed over the last forty years, and with time these procedures will become increasingly influential in the treatment of patients" (emphasis added) (Rannefeld, p. 76).

3. Opportunities/Issue Analysis/SWOT Analysis.

According to Cravens (2000), the main purpose of a SWOT Analysis is to identify key issues that will allow an informed strategic approach. The SWOT analysis seeks to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the environment; strengths are comprised of positive aspects that are internal to the entity; weaknesses are those negative aspects that are internal to the entity; and opportunities are positive aspects that are external to the entity (Cravens).

Strengths. One of the major strengths of the enterprise envisioned herein is the current availability of both government and private monies for healthcare services in Hong Kong. The current healthcare system in Hong Kong is relatively equitable in terms of financing; currently, the lowest income quintile spends 1.8 per cent of household income on health whereas the highest quintile spends 2.4 per cent (Ramesh). Likewise, there are relatively insignificant differences between the rates of both in-patient and out-patient visits in different income quintiles (Ramesh). Moreover, the Hong Kong government's expenditures for healthcare are relatively equitable; for instance, the poorest quintile attracted 25 per cent of Hospital Authority's in-patient expenditures in 1996, compared to 16 per cent for the richest quintile. The government was the largest source of finance for in-patient services for all quintile groups, while for out-patient services it was the largest source only for the poorest quintile (Ramesh).

Despite these strengths,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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