Today, mixed and contested (Goddard, 2015). The
Today, the skyrocketing number of health care providers that enter the industry in both public and private organizations create a highly competitive market. For this reason, it is necessary for every provider to become competitive to attract customers and overcome the competitors in order to survive in the industry. However, the role of competition is still much debated since the pieces of evidence are mixed and contested (Goddard, 2015). The Kaiser Permanente is one of the healthcare providers that is standing still in the current competitive market since its establishment in 1945. It is established by industrialist and physician named Henry Kaiser and Sidney Garfield, respectively. As of 2017, the Kaiser Permanente is operating and providing healthcare across eight states including Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, California, Colorado, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia. For this reason, Kaiser Permanente is considered one of the largest managed care organizations within the United States of America. In fact, according to Kaiser Foundation (2018), as of 2017, there are almost 12 million health plan members, estimated 209,000 employees, 21, 275 physicians, 54,000 nurses, 39 medical centers, and more than 700 medical facilities. The main objective of Kaiser Permanente is to provide affordable and best-quality health care services, as well as to improve the health of the communities they serve. This healthcare provider is one of the trusted partners in total health which collaborate with the people in the community in order to help them in creating and thriving communities which can be considered among the healthiest in the entire nation. In line with the aforementioned information, the Kaiser Permanente is one of the medical branches that provide quality healthcare in the entire nation, as well as the Coastal and Olympic region and Puget Sound. Also, it is one of the service providers that has survived enormous and huge competition from other healthcare providers located in the entire nation, United States of America.
Characteristics of the Users
The Kaiser Permanente is considered one of the leading healthcare providers in the nation, as well as the not-for-profit health plans. Also, it provides integrated care and coverage within the state of Washington, from Seattle to Everett and Spokane up to Olympia. This healthcare provider provides affordable and high-quality healthcare services and improves the holistic being of its members, as well as the communities it serves. According to Brown (2017), the Kaiser Permanente in Washington is currently available in an estimated of 20 counties in the state of Washington wherein there are 25 primary care clinics with five urgent-care facilities and four outpatient surgery facilities. In regard to the characteristics of the users of the Kaiser Permanente in Washington, they can be classified according to their psychographics, demographics, and behaviors. The racial composition of residents in the District of Columbia is reported as 50.7% African-American, 38.5% white Americans, and 9.1% Latino or Hispanic. Furthermore, an estimated of 80% of the users of the Kaiser Permanente is composed of individuals aged 18 years old and above while 16% are the ones with the age of 65 years and above, the elders (Kaiser Permanente, 2017). This healthcare provider is currently serving more or less 12 million members across the eight states in the United States of America, as well as the provider in the District of Columbia. Lastly, the Kaiser Permanente ranked second in regard to healthcare providers that deal with cultural diversity. For this reason, a huge percentage of the users of Kaiser Permanente came from different cultures.
On the other hand, Ulmer, McFadden, & Nerenz (2009) provide information in regard to the users of the services provided by the Kaiser Permanente. They point out that when it comes to cosmetic surgery services, the Kaiser Permanente is targeting individuals between the age of 20 up to 50 wherein people in the age of 20s are going for cosmetic surgery in order to enhance their beauty and looks while the individuals in the age span of 40 to 50 are maintaining their beauty and skin. They are also focusing on women for cosmetic surgery, but they are also offering cosmetic services for men. Moreover, the healthcare provider is generally targeting the working class and rich people for their cosmetic services since it is quite expensive.
The Kaiser Permanente throughout the United States of America is facing competition at all levels as far as their respected services are concerned. Some of the major competitors of Kaiser Permanente across its different locations are UCSF Medical Center, Sutter Health, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, UCLA Health, Cleveland Clinic, Cigna, and Aetna. The abovementioned healthcare providers also offer services similar to those at Kaiser Permanente at relatively the same and close prices. According to Charter Global Management Accountant (2013), it is quite imperative to utilize Porter’s five forces in order to adequately analyze the level of competition, as well as to recommend a course of action. This framework provides five forces that determine the competitive attractiveness and intensity of a market. The five forces include supplier power, buyer power, competitive rivalry, the threat of substitution, and the threat of new entry.
The Kaiser Permanente can utilize environmental scanning strategy in order to create value, as well as to sustain its competitive advantage. In line with this, it can acquire a competitive advantage through the implementation of value-creating techniques. However, the techniques should be valuable, rare, and non-substitutable. Furthermore, a full understanding of the current internal and external environments of the organization itself is one of the recommended actions for a strategic marketing success. Some of the external environments of the Kaiser Permanente includes organizational culture, human resource, management, cash flow, profit, and physical assets. On the other hand, the external environments include government, competition, public opinion, and economy. Furthermore, investment can play a significant role in the competitive status of Kaiser Permanente since it is a major defining component of the strategic marketing strategy. The following are some of the recommendations that Kaiser Permanente can implement for strategic marketing practices. First, an investment into a full spectrum of basic, clinical, and translational research. Second, develop a process, which is data-driven for the healthcare system that will identify the unmet public health and scientific needs within and across different health issues. Lastly, a continuous training for a diverse and robust workforce.
The marketing mix is quite important for any organization since it is a set of tactical, controllable marketing tools in which a company utilizes in order to produce a desired response from the target market. For the Kaiser Permanente to stand out from its competitors, it is much better if Kaiser Permanente establishes a marketing strategy that incorporates the 4Ps of marketing such as product, price, place, and promotion. However, the most effective tools of the marketing mix for Kaiser Permanente are the price and place. The healthcare provider should provide quality care with the lowest price possible. Also, the place of the organization plays an integral role in being a competitive one since the best location attracts more clients.
The price of the service provided by a healthcare provider is one of the most common concerns of patients across different regions, especially for those who have comprehensive health insurance coverage. For this reason, healthcare providers including the Kaiser Permanente must be aware of any chance they can offer the possible care at the lowest price (Ahmad, Al-Qarni, Alsharqi, Qalai, ; Kadi, 2013). One of the best possible pricing strategies is to provide specific tests including cholesterol tests, HIV tests, sugar level tests, and blood pressure for free in order to raise patient awareness of their services. Also, the Kaiser Permanente should also offer major discounts to its patients who fall under special groups including employer groups, senior citizens, and family members of its employees.