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How to use a SWOT analysis for your Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department

How to use a SWOT analysis for your Cardiopulmonary Rehab Department

As part of our series on tracking and improving rehab performance, we’re borrowing a concept from business school: the SWOT analysis. Why? Well, a SWOT analysis provides a simple yet surprisingly effective framework for improving the performance of any organization, including cardiopulmonary rehabs.

To break it down, here are the definitions of each component and the questions you might ask yourself and your colleagues about your program:

What is a SWOT analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a useful process for understanding your program’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You can use this process prior to opening a new rehab or on a recurring basis to improve your current program. A SWOT analysis should be revisited on a periodic basis or when an important change occurs in the department.


Internal factors:

  • Strengths describe what your program already does really well. For example, how is your program valuable and effective? What unique benefits does your program provide for your patients and your hospital? And, how might you use these strengths to accomplish your goals, like getting more referrals. An example of a strength could be a convenient location near the hospital’s lobby.
  • Weaknesses are the characteristics of your program that put it at a disadvantage. For example, what could your program do better? What are some of the current problems your program faces? And, how might you improve on these weaknesses or minimize their effects? An example of a weakness could be a hard-to-access location that has minimal parking options.

External factors:

  • Opportunities refer to the favorable factors in your program’s environment that you can use to your advantage. For example, what is happening in the industry or at your hospital that might positively impact your program? And, how might you use these opportunities to set and achieve your goals? An example of a opportunity could be to increase awareness of the department by hosting an informational fair at your hospital.
  • Threats are the unfavorable factors in your environment that have the potential to damage performance. For example, what is happening in the industry or at your hospital that might cause trouble for your program? And, how might you get ahead of these threats or minimize their effects? An example of a threat could be changes to regulations such as the bundled payments study.

How do you conduct a SWOT analysis?

To conduct your own SWOT analysis, invite those who are involved with management or supervision of your cardiopulmonary rehab as well as any other key employees to discuss in an organized group setting. You can consider even inviting some of your patients who have recently graduated. Make sure to set the tone by starting with the positives (your strengths), and then move through the other three components.

This method offers a safe and productive setting for everyone to evaluate the program honestly, while also providing actionable takeaways and realistic goals.

To demonstrate what a SWOT analysis might look like, we’ve provided an example for the cardiopulmonary rehab industry as a whole. Note that this example does not necessarily apply to any program because each has different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

 Example: Cardiopulmonary Rehab Industry SWOT Analysis


[download id=”6359″]. We hope this exercise provides helpful direction for improving or starting your program!

Need extra guidance? Contact us today to schedule a free evaluation of your existing patient monitoring system and patient-care process.

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