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Marketing management at Uppsala University Hospital : a case study in Swedish health care marketing; MBA-thesis in marketing

by Olausson, Per-Håkan; Olausson, Carina

Abstract (Summary)

Aim:The overall aim of this study was to obtain more knowledge on the implementation of health care marketing in Sweden, using Uppsala University Hospital (UUH) as a case study. Additionally, based on the results of this case study, the aim was also to give concrete suggestions on how to enable increased focus on the formulation and implementation of health care marketing management strategies. This gives the study a slightly normative approach and aim, since the line is not drawn at description and analysis but also advocate guidelines for the enabling of market orientation.

Method: The chosen methodology of the study was qualitative, as the study sought to explore, interpret and gain a deeper knowledge of the research area.  Three different strategies of primary data collection were used; (1) interviews with key hospital managers, (2) a survey sent to all heads of clinical departments (68 departments) and (3) the study of selected UUH internal documents and UUH internal material related to the subject. The massive data was consolidated, reported and analyzed as separate parts and as well as an overview analysis from a health care marketing management theoretical framework.

Results & Conclusions:The study showed that UUH, despite the fact that they produce an annual revenue from health care services sales of approx 1,5 billion SEK, lacks almost every aspect of the tools and abilities necessary to function on a competitive marketplace. This included a non-marketing based planning process, the absence of a marketing organizational unit, no marketing research abilities etc. There were also facts pointing at severe flaws in the accounting systems, uncertainties of the legality of the current marketing activities and no marketing-stimulating incentive-systems in place. Besides these hard facts, the conservative, non-market oriented, organizational culture was deemed to make an attempted marketing adaption very hard to implement. The interviews provided valuable data for the structure and analysis. The survey had a very low response-rate, which didn´t provide any valuable data per se, but was interpreted to support the analysis of the organizational flaws in regard to marketing orientation. The internal document study also resulted in support of this analysis and increased the validity. Based on the analysis, a suggestion for a “road map” to successfully market-adapt Swedish health care was presented.

Suggestions for future research:Health care marketing most likely constitute its own area of research which also is specific for Sweden, which gives infinite opportunities for further studies. The implementation of marketing strategies in health care is an area that really needs to be further studied, therefore a suggestion for future research is to try and find out just how to enable implementation of a marketing-orientation in an organization which never had one. Another suggestion for further research could be the study of how economic incentive systems and other means of co-worker stimulation influence the production of health care services.

Contribution of the thesis:We believe that this study will strengthen the marketing understanding for UUH personnel at both managerial as well as all other organizational levels that are interested in the subject. We also believe that politicians, both locally and nationally, will benefit from practical knowledge regarding health care marketing mechanisms currently in place. Though conducted as a case study at one hospital, we deem that the analysis and suggestions are applicable for many other health care providers acting on the Swedish health care services marketplace, possibly contributing to the development of Swedish health care.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Gävle

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:health care marketing management uppsala university hospital business studies företagsekonomi

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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