This case discusses about the history and present position of Shouldice hospital. Shouldice Hospital is a private hospital. It was founded in 1945 by Dr. Edward Shouldice in Toronto and commissioned by the Ministry of Health. In the year, 1953 the facility preceded to Thornhill, Ontario (Chapter 1: A Road Map to the World of Strategic Management, 2006). This hospital is having specialization in abdominal wall hernia repairs. It has been dedicated to the repair of hernias from last 55 years.
The hospital is having 12 full time surgeons who function exclusively within the private hospital and are accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. Here, in this paper the discussion regarding different aspects of hospital will be done by analyzing its different services, facilities and value propositions (Heskett, 2003).
At Shouldice Hospital value is integrated into its each aspect. It operates with a rational service culture. It extends several services in the form of expertise of its doctors, commitment of its staff and all inclusive atmosphere that in turn assist its patients with quick recovery. The hospitalââ‚¬â„¢s significant value proposition is deliverance of quality through experience (Heskett, 2003). From last 55 years, it is repairing hernias and had treated thousands of patients. This number of patients is increasing day by day and it is because of the effective utilization of its value proposition (Shouldice Hospital Ltd., 2000).
The atmosphere developed at the Shouldice hospital is also one of their unique value adding features. It has two different facilities that are the hospital and a clinic that is situated in the 17,000 square foot building posing on 130 acres. Additionally, the entire hospital is carpeted so that it can render a comfort feeling in spite of cold floor feel. It is also surrounded with a huge open lounge area along with several recreational facilities (Christense, 2008).
In addition to its services, the staffs of the hospital are highly dedicated towards their profession. It is having international recognized authorities. The surgeons working in the hospital has made a lifetime commitment to work in the hospital and their long experience is highly benefiting the hospital in delivering quality to its patients (Heskett, 2003). The procedure followed by the hospital is itself one of the distinctive aspects of benefits offered by it. The utilization of a local anesthetic aggregated with the temperament of the procedure facilitates early recovery following surgery.
In comparison to other hospitals recovery time at Shouldice it is half from others. As well, the local anesthetic is dealt out in the operating room whereas in other hospitals they entirely sedate patients before entering the operating room. Subsequent to the operations, at Shouldice patients are motivated to get down from the operating table and do walk towards the post-operating room (Christense, 2008). The Shouldice allows patients to do exercising that is required for full and immediate recovery. It is not done by any other hospital. At Shouldice, patient is awake and is completely aware about whatever is happening that is not done in any other hospital.
Target Group Customers & Production Process
In the medical field, Shouldice Hospital has established a niche service. It directs only external abdominal hernias or hernias from patients suffering from recurrences. The staffs of the hospital also associate patients in the same room who are from related settings, jobs, or concerns. This also works as an addition to their value proposition. The service process of the hospital is also unique in its own terms (Heskett, 2003). The procedure of operation in which patient is awake and is fully aware about what is going on cannot be seen in any other hospital.
From the time a patient enters the hospital and is discharged everything is planned and well designed. Its service delivery process is quite unique and works as a contribution to its value proposition that can be understood with the help of attached production process blue print. With the all vital formalities a patient is admitted and joins up other 30 to 34 patients and their friends and families in the waiting room. After waiting some time, patient is examined and then his health insurance coverage is checked along with a blood and urine test. Then, he is directed to a room number on the basis of information provided by him. Subsequently patients are given a nurse orientation and next day they are taken for surgery (Chapter 1: A Road Map to the World of Strategic Management, 2006).
After surgery, when patients arrive at facility, they immediately get mingle up with other patients who also had their surgery at the same day. This discussion and gathering of all patients work as a psychological process and allows patients feel comfortable about the after effects of surgery. They get comfortable and start adjusting quickly.
38 Surgery Candidates
4 Sent Home
116 Extended Stay
89 Beds Available
Apart from a hernia, all the target group of customers have similar needs regarding the effect and recovery process of surgery. The query and tension of its patients get abbreviated when they mingle with other patients before surgery and after surgery. The service delivery of Shouldice hospital goes beyond the expectations of its patients and perfectly corresponds with their value proposition (Heskett, 2003).
Analysis of Shouldice Performance on Five Dimensions of Service Quality
The Shouldice Hospital is working effectively from last more than 55 years and this could also be understood by analyzing it on the following five dimensions of service quality:
Reliability pertains to the ability of an organization to carry out the assured service faithfully and precisely. With the discussion of Shouldice hospital and its service delivery process, it can be said that this hospital is perfectly reliable and it delivers whatever has promised by it. The hospital authorities and staff keep up all its promises made by it in concern to schedule, pricing, delivery and problem resolution (McConnell & Huba, 2003). They always follow the same schedule from Monday to Friday and in always make cautious diagnoses from beginning. This reliability among customers assists the company in the creation of positive word of mouth and good image.
Responsiveness is related with the readiness to assist customers and to furnish immediate service. Shouldice staff has a unique accessibility. As well, they have high willingness to listen to their every patient on an individual basis. They follow a unique service delivery process that undertakes an immediate attention as soon as a patient enters the hospital (Heskett, 2003). All these aspects of its service delivery process evidence the proficiency of Shouldice Hospital in responsiveness and assist the company in attracting more and more number of customers.
This service quality dimension can be defined as an ability of a firm and its employees to inspire trust and confidence. In the medical field the attainment of this dimension is highly essential due to the high risk factor. At Shouldice Hospital, trust and confidence are evident from the time a patient enters it, when he go for first examination and first counselling session with patients who have just had the operation to the time when he leave the hospital (Shouldice Hospital Ltd., 2000). The experience and skills of its surgeons along with its present reputation are very helpful in assuring its patients and creating a feeling of trust among them. The encouragement of trust and confidence by its staff and surgeons significantly assist the company in attracting increasing number of patients without the use of advertising (Heskett, 2003).
This service quality dimension pertains to the caring and personalized attention provided by a firm to its customers. This service quality dimension is inclusively integrated in Shouldice delivery process. The hospital has positioned itself as specialization in hernia surgery that is completed with high success on the basis of caring and personalized attention. This hospital gives extreme care and personalized attention to its patients. It treats its patients as a family member and gives them homely environment so that they can reduce their worries about the surgery and get recover in shorter time period (Heskett, 2003). This highly empathetic and personalized environment assists the hospital in attaining an exclusive image in comparison to other hospitals.
Nowadays, the success of a service depends upon its tangibility that pertains to the appearance of facilities or service provided. At Shouldice, the service delivery system of the hospital make use of lots of tangibles in the form of its staff, experienced surgeons, hospital atmosphere, environment, its building structure, facilities and counselling sessions (Christense, 2008). All these different aspects of hospital make its services more tangible that assist it significantly in creating an effective position in the industry and in the minds of its customers.
Shouldice Value Proposition Relative to its Competitors
With the case analysis, it becomes apparent that the Shouldice offer a superior value proposition in comparison to its competitors. Its competitors are not able to compete on its services and facilities. It adopts totally different service delivery system in comparison to its competitors. Shouldice adopts a focussed value chain for managing its service delivery (Heskett, 2003). It makes its patients totally aware with the treatment given to them and they are awake at the time of surgery that is not followed at any other hospital.
All these service delivery aspects of Shouldice assist it in attaining immense success and reputation in the minds of its customers. It is not only successful in increasing its number of patients but it is successful recovering patients immediately in comparison to other hospitals. All the distinctive services of Shouldice along with experienced staff and doctors direct it towards immense success.
Shouldice is able in balancing low cost with high quality in a number of diverse ways. One of its substantial reasons is its low cost of the operation room furnishings that is $30,000. In other hospitals, the cost of operating rooms is four-fold due to extensive equipments (Christense, 2008). As well, hospital is able in decreasing its costs by having only one crash cart at each floor rather having hundreds crash carts. Employee turnover at hospital is also very low.
Additionally, it also makes an appropriate use of time that assists it in its cost cutting measures. In spite of spending on all trivial things, they pay their employees more than the industry average (Eldersveld, 2008). With high salaries they become highly dedicated to their duties that assist in managing high quality with low costs.
Working Environment of Shouldice
A number of factors of Shouldice Hospital make its working environment more effective. In comparison to other hospitals, it provides several benefits of its employees along with a healthy environment to learn and grow in medical field. They work with a fixed schedule along with sufficient breaks (Chapter 1: A Road Map to the World of Strategic Management, 2006). As well, the salaries given to Shouldice staff are more than industry average and turnover at hospital is very low. This low turnover also evidences the effective working environment of the hospital.
For resolving the present problems and attaining more growth, Shouldice should try to identify the ways through which it can increase its hospitals capacity. Subsequent are some growth alternatives that can be adopted by the Shouldice Hospital:
Expand the current capacity of the hospital to fulfil the increasing demands.
It may start operating on Saturdays.
The hospital can expand its services into Toronto or in the United States (Heskett, 2003).
It may offer more kinds of special surgeries like varicose veins, eye surgery or diagnostic services.
On the basis of above proposed growth alternative, I would recommend that the hospital authorities should expand their capacities for fulfilling the increasing demand. They are having an outsized space that can be used effectively for expanding its capacities. By proceeding in this direction, they may also become able in making use of advertising campaign for attracting more patients (McConnell & Huba, 2003). For handling the increasing demand, the hospital should also appoint additional staff and doctors. Appointing extra staff will facilitate in maintaining the present relationships with its each patient. In this way, the hospital can easily and effectively expand its capacities for meeting up with the increasing demands.