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Development and implementation of a Physician Support Network at Hillcrest Health Center: A case study

Brown, Gary A.
Scope and Method of Study: From September, 1987 until September, 1988, Hillcrest Health Center engaged the consulting firm of Professional Marketing Consultants, Inc. (PMCI) for the purpose of installing a multifaceted Physician Support Network (PSN). The eight programs which comprised the PSN were: Physician Referral System, Physician Practice Support, Occupational Health, Preregistration Card System, Emergency Room marketing, Women's Health Center, Behavioral Medicine Center marketing, and a Network Information System. PMCI promised to develop and install these programs in 12 months, an extremely short time frame. As the Director of Marketing, I was responsible for the project. This case study examines the organizational upheaval which occurs when a project of this magnitude is forced on a service organization by top management.
Findings and Conclusions: Critical mistakes, both in the development and implementation of this project prevented its success. Needless pressure and criticism was engendered by promising an extremely short development and implementation time frame which could not be fulfilled. Initial project approval was forced through the board of directors and medical staff approval process without allowing time for examination. Likewise, in order to secure the board of directors' approval, adequate funding for the project was not requested. The Data Processing Manager was allowed to critically damage the project due to his own ignorance and hostility. The Chief Executive Officer, also the primary administrative supporter of the project, left Hillcrest for another position at a critical juncture in the project implementation. Finally, I made several errors because of inexperience. For these reasons, the Physician Support Network development and implementation at Hillcrest Health Center fell woefully short of its potential.