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May 2001, Week 2


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Cathy Wolfson <[log in to unmask]>
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Cathy Wolfson <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 May 2001 15:35:42 -0700
TEXT/PLAIN (73 lines)

Thanks for sharing the reply from Jack Cooper, Ph.D.  What field is the
Ph.D. in?

> >Competitive Intelligence (CI) is an extremely misunderstood, yet extremely
> >valuable tool for today's hospitals to utilize in achieving their market
> >share. Hospital librarians are typically not trained in the strategic and
> >management skills required to maximize their respective potential to the
> >hospital beyond their present role, regarding CI.

I wonder about this.  The types of activities Ian Smith's article
described can be done by me and my colleagues without additional training.
In an academic setting our focus would be somewhat different, but I have
no trouble understanding what he was talking about and have some pretty
good ideas of how to achieve it.  I suspect most of the rest of you
MEDLIBBERS do as well.

> >I think it fair to say that most hospitals are in financial difficulty, and
> >community hospitals rely heavily on the "Development Fund", rather than
> >making a profit as all businesses must do.

> >Health care employee's today must understand that the Federal and State
> >government can no longer afford to support hospitals as they have since the
> >Hill-Burton Act. Hospitals must become competitive or file for bankruptcy.
> >Today across the United States, statistics show that we have 50% to many
> >hospital beds!

Oh?  Why?  Why can't the Federal and State governments subsidize?  I ask
this question in a very broad, big picture kind of sense.  Yes, given the
types of expenditures in which they engage now, increased subsidies are
probably not an option.  But we need as a nation and social group to ask
if those expenditures are really what contribute to the public weal?  Are
we emphasizing the "provid[ing] for the common defense" over "insur[ing]
domestic Tranquility" and "promot[ing] the general Welfare"?  I think we

And by whose definition do we have 50% too many hospital beds?  Here in
Tucson, for instance, ERs are overflowing to the extent that people are
being turfed to Phoenix and San Diego.  Because many of Arizona's working
poor, uninsured, wait until their health deteriorates to the point that
they can no longer ignore the problem, and their only recourse is the ER.
Shouldn't some of these people be in these "excess" beds?  Or how about
the people being discharged with edema swelling an entire leg?  With
drainage tubes which need professional management?  "Drive by" baby

> >Forty percent of those hospitals that have filed for bankruptcy did so due
> >to not meeting or understanding the competitive role that their competition
> >played in their demise (bankruptcy).

Excuse me, we are talking about health and LIVES here, not about
competition in manufacturing and selling widgets!  Hospitals should NOT be
competing against one another!

> >Gathering data is not what CI is. Nor is converting this data to
> >information. It is the gathering of data, conversion of this data to
> >information, and the strategic implementation of goals to gain or retain
> >market share that defines what CI is.

I do agree that librarians could make more use of CI techniques.  But NOT
to improve competitive edge, but to improve health care!  That's what
we're here for.


Catherine L. Wolfson                        Health Sciences Library
Information Services Librarian              University of Arizona
[log in to unmask]                   1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Tel:  520-626-2927                          P.O. Box 245079
Fax:  520-626-2922                          Tucson, AZ  85724-5079