MHSA 8863 Health Care Strategic Management and Marketing
Dr. Alice Adams MHSA 8863
Health Care Strategic Management and Marketing
Please note that this syllabus is intended as a generic, representative syllabus for the MHSA 8863 course.
Specific requirements, textbooks, and schedules are subject to change each semester based on semester
length, number of students in the course, scheduling requirements, relevant research or service
opportunities that arise for student involvement, and other factors, including the instructor’s efforts to
update and improve the educational experience of students.
Prereq(s): Permission of Instructor – If you do not have permission to register for this
course from Dr. Adams or Dr. Crosby, you will be administratively dropped.
This is the capston course of the MHSA program and must be taken in your
final semester (unless you plan to graduate after the Summer term, in which
case you should take it in the Spring semester).
Instructor: Alice M. Adams, Ph.D.
Office: 201M Solms
Phone: (912) 921-7346 (Office)
Office Hours: vary semester
As the capstone course for the MHSA program, this course investigates the strategic management
function within contemporary health services organizations. It focuses on the organizational strategic
planning processes, including principles and methods of strategic assessment, strategy formulation,
evaluation, implementation, and control, as well as the role and function of marketing strategy as part of
the strategic implementation process. Because it serves as the capstone course, it is based on the
foundation of knowledge and skills obtained throughout the MHSA curriculum and focuses on integrating
all of those elements within a comprehensive, coherent strategic management approach. The course will
be taught using a variety of methods, including readings (textbook and supplemental articles), class
discussions, development of a business/marketing plan by each student, and case analyses.
Upon completion of this course, it is anticipated that the student will be able to:
(1) Understand and explain the philosophical, functional, and historical basis for the existence of
strategic planning activities within health services organizations.
(2) Know and implement the fundamental tasks involved in the development and/or revision of an
organizational strategic plan including the environmental/situational analysis, determination of
organizational strategic direction, formulation of specific organizational strategies, development of
action/tactical plans necessary for strategy implementation, and periodic evaluation of
organizational performance vis-à-vis the strategic plan.
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(3) Understand the role of various marketing research methodologies vis-à-vis the organization’s
analysis of its current/projected competitive environment.
(4) Knowledgably discuss the various marketing strategy models that form the conceptual foundation
for the selection of the organization’s overall strategic direction consistent with results obtained
from environmental analyses.
(5) Develop marketing plans/strategies necessary for the identification/development of the
organization’s core business strategies.
(6) Understand the role(s) of various levels of governance/administrative staff in the development,
implementation, and evaluation/revision of the organizational strategic plan.
(7) Apply and synthesize concepts related to strategic planning and marketing vis-à-vis the
development of a hypothetical strategic/marketing plan for health services organizations.
(8) Assess financial, accounting, human resources, quality management, information management,
organization structure, organizational behavior, marketing, ethical and legal information in
assessing the organization’s competitive advantages and disadvantages.
Swayne, L. E., Duncan, W. J, and Ginter, P. M. (2005) Strategic Management of Health Care
Organizations, Fifth Edition. London: Blackwell Publishers.
Additional readings as listed below and posted on WebCT.
Course Evaluation and Grading
The grading scale to evaluate student performance will be similar to that used by other courses: 90-
100(A), 80-89(B), 70-79(C), 65-70(D), <65(F). Any deviations from this standard scheme will be a result
of the distribution of class scores on the various course assignments as well as the final course grade.
Each student’s grade in the course will be based on the following criteria (with the relative weight for
1. Plagiarism tutorial required but not graded
2. Business/marketing plan 20%
3. Case study analyses 60%
4. Class preparation/discussion 20%
(including written preparation
of discussion questions)
Note that my philosophy of grading is that the points are yours to earn, not mine to give. In this
approach, you start the semester with 0 points and earn points along the way based on your performance
in class and on written assignments. You should not expect to earn 100% of the points for any assignment
or activity (including class participation) unless you are prepared to deliver a consistently outstanding
performance. If you miss classes, are not prepared for classes, do not contribute in a meaningful way, are
disruptive to the class (including by attempting to dominate class discussions) or disrespectful of others
you will lose points from those that you may have already earned. Just speaking out in class is not nearly
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enough to count as meaningful participation – you must work to further the class discussion with your
comments, questions, and replies. Similarly, your written work will be evaluated based on the content of
your work, including the depth and comprehensiveness of your analyses, the extent to which you support
your statements and recommendations (with facts, logic and concepts from the textbook and readings),
and the quality and professionalism of your writing and formatting (including grammar, spelling,
appropriate use of headings and fonts, appearance of tables, charts, and graphics).
All students are required to complete the Plagiarism Tutorial on the Lane Library web site
(http://www.library.armstrong.edu/plagiarismtutorial.html) by the third week of the course. At the end of
the tutorial, take the post-test and email the results to me at email@example.com. Be sure that
you go through the entire tutorial. If you have any questions, concerns, or areas of uncertainty about the
definition of, avoidance of, or rules governing plagiarism you should do two things: (1) contact a staff
member at Lane Library or the AASU Writing Center (109 Gamble Hall) to seek clarification and (2)
research the matter further using a writing manual such as the 5th edition of the Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association. Note that it is your responsibility to know and adhere to all rules
and regulations related to plagiarism – ignorance of the rules and regulations is NOT an excuse. All
instances of inappropriately cited work are plagiarism per se and will be treated accordingly. For
additional information about the AASU policy on academic dishonesty, see the Student Performance /
Conduct Expectations section below and refer to the AASU Honor Code in the Graduate Student
Handbook (available at the Registrar’s Office as well as online at
Each student will be required to submit a comprehensive marketing plan for one of the following: (1)
a hypothetical new product/service line within an existing health services organization; (2) a
product/service line in a hypothetical new business related to health services, health promotion, and/or
health education, or (3) an actual ongoing program, business, or product/service line related to health
services, health promotion, and/or health education. Students will develop their own marketing plans
within the context of a contemporary health services-related organization’s strategic plan, consistent with
a more strategic (market-focused) approach to health services marketing that is increasingly characteristic
of such organizations.
Each student is required to select (and have approved by me) a subject area for their
business/marketing plan not later than the third week of class (see schedule) by submitting a brief (not
more than one paragraph) synopsis of the intended focus of their marketing plan (e.g. a new service line in
a hospital, a new health promotion program within a health system, etc.). Students are certainly allowed
the flexibility to change the focus of their plan subsequent to this initial decision, but should be aware that
time is limited and that such changes will invariably reduce the amount of time available to research and
compile necessary information in support of the marketing plan.
In terms of the format of the plan, what follows are some guidelines that students may, but are not
obligated to, make use of in the preparation of the written marketing plan document. Students should be
aware that the intended audience (focus) for such a plan document is either: (1) the governing board for
the HSO/health system (to which the business/marketing plan/proposal is targeted) in the case of a new
program/business line proposal within an existing HSO/health system; or (2) the business proposal review
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board of a bank, venture capital firm, etc. in the case of an entirely new stand-alone business or program
related to health services, health promotion, etc.
Marketing Plan Format
Executive memorandum/summary (one page or less)
Marketing plan introduction – background information related to the development of the marketing
proposal (relationship to organization’s strategic plan, rationale for development, how the proposed
program/business addresses key organizational concerns. (1-2 pages)
Market analysis – specification of the service category(ies) and target markets (including rationale)
and profile of the service area (including general, economic, demographic, psychographic, and health
status factors) (4-6 pages)
Competitor analysis – information about competitors and potential substitutes for the product or
service (2-3 pages)
Marketing recommendations – specific recommendations for a marketing strategy, including
additional market research to be conducted, pricing of the product or service, promotion methods,
distribution channels, and implementation (budgets, timelines, requirements, etc.)
The length of the plan, excluding any additional appendices, should not exceed 15 word processed
pages, double-spaced. Where appropriate, use tables or charts to summarize information. Each submitted
plan will be primarily evaluated based on the content of the proposal, though a portion of the total grade
will also be determined by general adherence to the appropriate use of grammar and spelling in addition
to a consideration of the clarity, style, and conciseness of the plan. Students should keep in mind the
intended (professional) audience for their marketing plan/proposal and structure the plan accordingly.
Case Study Analyses
Since this course is focused on the integration of knowledge and skills learned throughout the MHSA
program, each student will prepare a written analysis of four cases from the textbook. Each student will be
responsible for preparing typewritten case notes before class in order to prepare for our in-class
discussions. Your case notes as well as your participation in the case analysis discussion will be graded.
Collectively, these grades will represent 60% of your total grade. As a suggested guide to conducting such
strategic analyses, you should read Appendix A in the text entitled “Analyzing Strategic Health Care
Cases” on pages 515 – 525. In writing your case notes, you may use an outline format with “expanded
bullet points” as long as your ideas, statements, and recommendations are expressed fully (i.e., your
expanded bullet points should not be mere 2 or 3 word phrases). The idea behind allowing this format is
that it should save you some time by eliminating introduction and transition sentences, not to serve as a
short cut for the appropriate expression of your ideas.
Each case analysis will be unique. The first case analysis will focus primarily on the environmental
analysis processes discussed in chapters 2 through 4 (external and internal environments, including
competitor analysis, Porter industry analysis, and stakeholder analysis). For the second case, we will build
on that foundation to also include the development and assessment of strategic alternatives from chapters
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5 through 7. For the third case, we will build further to incorporate value-adding service delivery and
support strategies (from chapters 8 and 9). The fourth case will integrate all of the material from the
course. For MHSA students, the fourth case study analysis will also serve as the written portion of your
comprehensive exam. This requires that you conduct a comprehensive analysis of the assigned case and
submit a full paper (rather than case notes). You will be given more information about this process later in
For all cases you are encouraged to do outside research as needed to investigate contextual factors
related to the case (such as CON laws in the state in which the case is based, demographic information
about the community at the time the case is set, etc.). Additionally, it is important to remember that this is
the capstone course for the program so you are expected to draw on the knowledge you have gained in
your coursework throughout the curriculum.
The cases will be non-directed, meaning that I will not provide students with a set of case questions
that they have to specifically address as part of their analysis. Rather, each student should assume the
fictitious role of a member of a fictitious strategic planning committee that is charged with the
development or refinement of their organization’s strategic plan, based on the (limited) information
available, consistent with the “real world” nature of strategy development. None of the assigned cases will
be completely black or white in terms of right vs. wrong answers – rarely is there only one “right” answer
to a case. You are encouraged to be reasonably creative in terms of your approach to strategy
development, with an understanding of the process being as important/more important than the outcome.
It is imperative that you complete all of the reading assignments and assigned discussion questions
prior to our class meetings. Our class meetings will be discussion oriented rather than lectures, so the
success of those meetings depends on your preparation. In our discussions we will address general
questions about the chapters and readings, as well as questions about the application of the concepts to
case 2 (Methodist Healthcare) from the textbook. Be sure that you have read the information under the
Course Evaluation and Grading section, above, regarding the grading and evaluation of class participation
For each chapter (and some of the readings) you will be given discussion questions to answer and turn
in. I will examine these generally but will not grade them specifically. The purpose of these assignments
is to provide a guide for your preparation for class discussions and to ensure that you are adequately
“processing” the material presented in the textbook and in the readings so that you will be better prepared
to complete the case analyses.
Student Performance / Conduct Expectations
As a condition of enrolling in courses at AASU, you agree to abide by the rules of the Honor Code
and the Code of Conduct. The Honor Code and Code of Conduct are printed in the AASU Graduate
Catalog and on the University website. Any student desiring assistance with any matter related to these
Codes should seek assistance in the Division of Student Affairs.
Commensurate with their obligations associated with adherence to these defined codes of conduct, all
students in this course are expected to abide by the following (excerpted from the 2005-2006 AASU
Graduate Catalog, pages 34-35 – see the catalog for additional information about the honor code, honor
offenses, reporting of honor offenses, and adjudication of honor offenses):
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1. Exercise honesty in all matters, both academic and personal in nature.
2. Be fair and courteous with others, treat them fairly and with respect, showing sensitivity to
cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity and personal dignity.
3. Accept personal responsibility for appropriate behavior as defined by the Codes.
4. Know the offenses under each Code and the penalties for violating them.
5. Understand that they are responsible for knowing and following any additional written or verbal
requirements given by the professor, which relate to honor or conduct and which are inherent to
the classroom or University functions.
6. Know what plagiarism is, as defined under the Honor Code; recognize that it undermines
individual and academic integrity and ensure that it is avoided in both spirit and deed.
7. Understand that the Codes apply at all University activities whether on the main campus or at
8. Remember that they are representatives of Armstrong Atlantic State University and that they must
always conduct themselves in a manner that brings credit upon themselves and the University.
Any student determined to be in violation of one or more of the provisions of these codes will be
subject to all proscribed academic and/or disciplinary penalties as outlined in the Code of Student
Conduct. Lastly, it should be noted that student ignorance of the specific provisions within the Code of
Student Conduct is not an acceptable defense in any such proceedings. Students should thus exercise
particular care to refrain from any activity or behavior that has the appearance of constituting a violation
of the Code.
Provisions for Students with Disabilities
All students that have a documented disability, whether permanent or temporary, that will impact
significantly on their ability to be successful in this course, are encouraged to discuss the disability with
me to allow for appropriate assistance through the Office of Disability Services. All inquiries will be
Course Schedule – (this schedule is representative of a Fall or Spring semester and is subject to
change based on differing semester schedules, holidays, and other factors).
Week 1 No class meeting – please read the syllabus
carefully and contact me if you have any
questions. Read Chapters 1 and 2 and Case 2 for
Week 2 The Nature of Strategic Management Chapter 1 Questions for Chapters 1
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External Environmental Analysis Chapter 2 and 2
Overview of Case 2: Methodist Healthcare Case Case 2: Methodist HC
Week 3 External Environmental Analysis Continued: Chapter 3 Questions for
Service Area Competitor Analysis Appendix A Chapter 3 and App. A
Topic for marketing plan
Week 4 Internal Environmental Analysis and Competitive Chapter 4 Questions for
Advantage Readings Chapter 4
Week 5 Case 7: Indian Health Service Case 7: Indian Health Case Analysis for Case 7
Week 6 Directional Strategies Chapter 5 Questions for Chapters 5
Developing Strategic Alternatives Chapter 6 and 6
Week 7 Evaluation of Alternatives and Strategic Choice Chapter 7 Questions for
Readings Chapter 7
Week 8 Case 10: Rosemont Behavior Health Center Case 10: Rosemont Case Analysis for Case
Behavioral Health 10
Week 9 Value Adding Service Delivery Strategies Chapter 8 Questions for
Marketing Readings Chapter 8 and readings
Week 10 Spring Break – No Class Meeting
Week 11 Marketing Readings Questions for readings
Week 12 Value Adding Support Strategies Chapter 9 Questions for
Chapter 10 Chapters 9 and 10
Week 13 Case 11: Riverview Regional Medical Center Case 11: Riverview Case Analysis for Case
Week 14 No class meeting. Written comprehensive exams Written comps due April
will be distributed by Friday, April 7. The specific 14 by 5:00 pm
case for the comp will be announced at that time.
Week 15 No class meeting. Oral comprehensive exams will Readings
be conducted during the week.
Course wrap-up. All work must be completed by Readings Marketing plan due
this date since grades for graduating students are
due by May 2.
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