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Shouldice Hospital Ltd - Case Study Example

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Situation: Shouldice Hospital Ltd. is a self-contained facility located in Thornville, Canada, a suburb of Toronto. Its 17,000 square foot main building and clinic are capable of handling 7,600 operations each year that focus exclusively on hernia operations…
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Shouldice Hospital Ltd
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Shouldice Hospital Ltd. Situation: Shouldice Hospital Ltd. is a self-contained facility located in Thornville, Canada, a suburb of Toronto. Its 17,000 square foot main building and clinic are capable of handling 7,600 operations each year that focus exclusively on hernia operations. The Shouldice Hospital is recognized as a world leader for its innovative approach to the treatment of hernias as well as its decades of dedication to early ambulation following surgery. It is highly regarded by the profession, the patients, and the employees. Due to the growing popularity of their program and the procedure, Shouldice has reached capacity and has recently been exploring ways in which to add to their customer base. Several options have been considered including the construction of new facilities, extended hours, and diversification. In addition, Shouldice Hospital is preparing for a change in senior management due to the impending retirement of Dr. Degani. The task that faces Shouldice Hospital is to facilitate growth, while maintaining the current levels of patient care and employee relations in the midst of management change.
Problem: The biggest problem facing Shouldice is increasing the patient load, without impacting quality of care or employee relations. Operating on Saturday, or going to multiple shifts, could serve more patients by increasing the utilization of the existing facilities. However, the senior staff is opposed to Saturday hours and the issue seems to be irreconcilable in regards to employee relations. Previous experience has shown that opening a new facility, or expanding the current facility, will be met with an increased demand for treatment. However, the growth rate of 100 patients every six months through word of mouth advertising may not meet the financial demands of a significant expansion. However, Shouldice Hospital runs the risk of product piracy, or image problems when advertising directly to the public.
Framework: Because many of the patients at Shouldice come from outside the local area, it would be feasible to build a new facility in the US and begin attracting more US patients. This would additionally free up some of the space at Shouldice that could be utilized for further expansion. An advertising campaign should be exploited by creating a premium Shouldice brand for the hernia procedure. This would attract premium customers, and the campaign could additionally be used as an educational tool to defend against misinformation about the procedure in the marketplace. In regards to the replacement for Dr. Degani, his replacement should be groomed from the inside. The types of processes and procedures involved do not lend themselves to external candidates for chief surgeon. The same is true for the US expansion, as an internal staff member should be groomed for the chief surgeon position there.
Alternatives: As an alternative to the expansion of facilities, either in the US or Canada, there is the possibility of using an additional shift to perform operations. This would alleviate the employee problem of Saturday hours, and additional staff could be hired with the understanding of the expanded hours. This would help to mediate the reluctance to change on the part of the employees who were hired under the days only policy. As the additional hours reach capacity, a new facility could be constructed on the existing 130-acre site in Thornville. This would simplify the staffing and training as the workload ramps up. In addition, this would create continuity in service and help assure that customer quality does not suffer during a period of transition.
Bibliography
Heskett, James, and Roger Hallowell. Shouldice Hospital Limited (Abridged). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School, 2005. Read More
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