Strategic Planning Analysis of Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Numerous health departments and agencies have emerged with the prime aim of implementing global health interventions. CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) is among the renowned healthcare agencies in the world. Since its establishment in 1946, the CDC has been at the forefront of providing efficient healthcare services (Harrison, 2010). CDC endeavors to improve the quality of health care provided to people globally and within the US via an integrated approach that focuses on communal health priorities. It conducts investigations of health problems, develops health policies, and pursue research on developing and applying disease control and prevention. CDC’s mission has evolved from controlling communicable diseases to prevent chronic illnesses, disabilities, environmental threats to health, workplace hazards, and injuries. CDC is among the major working sections of the DHHS, and it operates in more than fifty nations worldwide. Each of its constituent organizations undertakes treatment and prevention activities to achieve the agency’s mission. CDC represents millions of clinicians, educators, health workers, citizens, and researchers. In spite of its efforts and successes in curbing healthcare predicaments, the agency has not performed without significant setbacks. Hence, like other healthcare organizations, CDC ought to make continual adjustments since it has to maintain most favorable functions (Harrison, 2010). Strategic planning analysis demands an objective and realistic assessment of the healthcare agency in order to determine its external and internal key issues. Using a SWOT analysis, strategic planning helps in determining where the organization is presently as well as identifying how it should adjust to attain its goals. To understand the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats facing CDC, a strategic critical analysis of the agency remains imperative.

Strengths

Current and Future Direction of CDC

In the past decade, CDC has portrayed dramatic growth from a yearly budget of 2 billion dollars to approximately 10 billion dollars (Department of Health and Human Services, 2009). The projected budget for 2016 showed an increase of 44 million dollars from the previous year’s one (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2015).

The increased budget has enabled CDC to continue handling ever-rising scope of challenges in the global health sector. In spite of the challenges, CDC is reshaping its approaches to tackle the twenty-first century health issues. It has realized that the disease-by-disease strategy is no longer sufficient in the present world of health urgencies and threats. Consequently, CDC has established significant healthcare approaches, which comprise of accountability, leadership, health impact, communal health research, client centricity, and international health impact. Additionally, it has concentrated its protection objectives around preparedness, people, global health, and places. The novel approaches enable CDC to be integrated across its program activities, be innovative and synergistic with its partners, and also be holistic in its activities. Likewise, CDC has categorized 69 principal services and functions and a range of around 1300 projects required in accomplishing its mission. To carry out these activities, CDC has engaged 95000 employees in diverse parts of the world. Moreover, it collaborates with hundreds of thousands of employees within other health sectors in terms of its stakeholders in the academic, private, and public sectors. Furthermore, the IT program of CDC appears promising since it has developed dramatically from the 1980s. During the last few years, CDC has issued grants to state departments for aiding in the construction of IT capabilities in health sector. The developments have contributed significantly to CDC’s attainment of its mission and strategic direction. 

Demographics Served

CDC serves distinct populations at the community level by preventing chronic disease and promoting healthy living in order to bring the utmost health benefits to people. Chronic diseases and their allied risk factors are likely to affect some ethnicities and races. An example here would be the non-Hispanic Blacks who experience higher rates of obesity and heart diseases as compared to Whites. Thus, CDC aids in reducing the health gaps emanating from diversities in ethnicity and race, income, location, and social status. It has founded a national program, REACH, which aims at reducing ethnic and racial health disparities. REACH acts as a platform through which awardee partners prepare and execute local ethnically appropriate programs that address a broad array of health concerns among American Indians, Alaska natives, African Americans, Pacific islanders, Latinos/Hispanics, and Asian Americans. CDC works towards eliminating health gaps amid races and ethnicities because it asserts that all persons should have the capacity to reach their overall health potential. REACH offers grants to various non-governmental and governmental agencies such as local and state health departments, learning institutions, community-based organizations, and tribes. The funds assist in building stronger associates to support and guide the program’s activities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015).

Identification of Stakeholders

CDC involves various stakeholders in their promotion of wellbeing and health. The key stakeholders comprise of community-based organizations, trade unions, employers, employees, health ministries, labor ministries, and non-governmental organizations. In all programs, CDC recognizes identification and involvement of stakeholders as an initial step. The organization establishes that the organizations and individuals with stakes in its programs are vital partners. Hence, through engaging an assortment of partners with diverse perspectives on its programs, CDC builds both external and internal support. Similarly, a varied stakeholder base helps in contextualizing statistical results with personal experiences and insight. CDC engages community members as principal stakeholders in its practices because they are the primary resources in the assessment of local health needs (Hearld, Bleser, Alexander, & Wolf, 2016). Furthermore, the engagement of community members in health improvement programs proves vital in creating an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and leveraging nonprofit resources, thus enhancing the sustainability of CDC’ s objectives and goals. By endorsing community support, CDC ensures that it gets access to knowledge pertaining to local health concerns, experiences, and relational dynamics.

Weaknesses

A major weakness in the CDC is sustenance of healthy workforce with essential competencies, skills, and education to fulfill the organization’s mission. In this viewpoint, the challenges include changes in the labor force demographics. CDC frequently loses its essential personnel due to retirement. Moreover, it experiences an inadequate supply of skillful public health experts. Besides the shortage in professional expertise, CDC demands a shift in the workforce due to its inflating scope of responsibilities and work. Therefore, the agency acknowledges the need for expanding the diversity of its workforce. However, it experiences immense difficulties not solely in acquiring, but also in retaining trained workforce. Furthermore, the executive department faces complexities in managing labor force with huge and increasing proportion of contractors. The contractors represent more than a third of CDC’s workforce.

Human Resource Planning

CDC portrays a major weakness in tactical human resource planning. It lacks logical assessment of present and future human resource requirements and the establishment of lasting techniques to deal with the recognized gaps. As Bascetta (2009) accentuates, efficient human resource planning necessitates strategic alignment, which is only attainable when an organization links its human resource plans with its goals and mission and integrates them into its budget, strategic and performance plan. However, CDC has shown a weak point when it has failed to evaluate and understand the degree to which its workforce contributes towards the achievement of the agency’s goals and mission. In 2005-2006, the media has indeed highlighted such various issues associated with CDC’s workforce as the loss of key scientists and senior leadership (Bascetta, 2009).

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Next, CDC has portrayed incompetence in managing ongoing agency's activities because only few systems are primed to endow top agency officials with crucial oversight information or to promote cooperation amid the centers. The anthrax incidence in 2001 revealed CDC’s weaknesses in managing internal response efforts and communicating with medical communities, health agencies, and other external stakeholders (Bascetta, 2009). During the incidence, where the workers were exposed to anthrax virus, the agency leadership ran short of formal protocols for making decisions regarding crisis management. The information gathered during the briefings was too bulky and diverse, thus impeding timely decision-making. Besides, CDC runs separate emergency response centers, an aspect that leads to uncoordinated control and command to address crises. Accordingly, CDC has received criticisms from its external stakeholders due to its inability to communicate critical information promptly to the healthcare workforce responsible for identifying and treating supposed health-related cases.

Opportunities

The advent of STDs provides CDC with an opportunity to inaugurate effective clinical management for curbing the spread of reproductive system infections and improving sexual health. STDs are hidden epidemic because their effect and scope remain under-recognized by healthcare professionals. In the US, STDs make up an endemic of significant magnitude with approximately fifteen million individuals contracting a novel STD every year (Suhrcke et al., 2011). Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are the most prevalent sexual illnesses in the US, and they comprise 80 percent of all the STDs reported to the CDC. This challenge gives CDC an opportunity to manage STDs effectively. Indeed, CDC has realized that effectual clinical management of reproductive system illnesses is a strategic element in preventing HIV infection as well as improvement of the adolescents', infants', and women health. CDC can establish guidelines for managing STDs in order to improve the wellbeing of citizens by controlling and preventing STDs. The public health objectives are attainable if CDC collaborates with knowledgeable clinicians and healthcare systems that enable the delivery of optimal care for STD patients by incorporating innovative guidelines into clinical practices. Besides, the STDs pandemic provides CDC with an opportunity to invent more effectual treatment regimes, improved counseling sessions for sexually active partners, new STD vaccines, and effective screening tests for STDs. The undertakings will not only benefit patients, but it will also enable CDC to achieve its wider public health objective of improving reproductive system and sexual health.

Competencies and Resources

Health agencies ought to make use of the available competencies and resources. The advent of IT provides organizations with an opportunity to grow in their endeavors. IT systems are vital assets for health agencies during disasters, emergencies, and disease outbreaks. Besides, an integrated information system provides an efficient, accurate, and secure means of collecting, processing, and transmitting data. In CDC, the purpose of IT is to channel the focus, initiatives, accountability, investments, directions, and mission alignment of the organization. The program enables the organization to share critical healthcare information with stakeholders, customers, partners, and CDC members. However, even though CDC has been developing IT systems for its practices, it is done only partially. There are no clear plans and milestones for when the IT system will be fully deployed within the organization. Therefore, there exists an opportunity for CDC to implement and use IT systems in all its operations.

Social marketing is a framework that can be used with other models and theories in the planning of health communication. The strategy offers CDC an opportunity to exploit enhancing its programs. Social marketing’s significant strength is its use of the market-driven and audience-centered approach to program research. From this outlook, CDC can employ social marketing tools and techniques to develop audience profiles and solutions. Additionally, the system is crucially competitive and may analyze cost-effectiveness an organization. Its approach to competition promotes the investigation and understanding of alternatives, like alternative programs, products, and behaviors. The analysis assists agencies in the establishment of desirable services and products that satisfy the needs of community. In the context of CDC, social marketing strategy can be used in researching changes in endemic outbreaks, spread of illnesses, immunizations, and disease prevention policies and practices while raising risk and disease awareness (Schiavo, 2011).

Threats

Recurrent Diseases and Infections

The burdens of disability, chronic diseases, recurring and new infectious diseases, unmet communal health needs, and health emergencies pose a significant threat to CDC programs. Similarly, CDC faces unprecedented challenges that range from prevention of chronic illnesses and combating epidemics to emergency preparedness. These challenges are a threat to CDC because they demand extra finances. For instance, an additional funding of 7.8 billion dollars is required for CDC’s programs in 2016. Regardless of the progress that CDC makes in meeting healthcare needs, the organization’s programs remain miserably underfunded to tackle the myriad health concerns. Following the unavailability of funds, CDC finds it hard to cater for the rising health requirements, which is a major setback in its operations. Likewise, CDC may be forced to eliminate some essential programs and channel the funds towards emergency programs.

Regulatory Requirements

Adverse government policies remain a threat to CDC’s operations. The changing health practices and policies continue to place individuals in jeopardy of ruining health and consequential death. For example, the US has launched work policies that expose citizens to hazardous work conditions, thus posing negative implications on their safety while exposing them to health hazards and life-threatening illnesses. In addition, practices in the healthcare community are offering less adequate care for persons seeking medical care, such as withholding certain treatments and excluding people of certain races and ethnicities from some drugs. Likewise, some healthcare institutions offer selective treatments depending on individual’s capability to pay for the services. Moreover, some practices, for example bureaucratic practices and medical experiments, expose patients to even more harm. However, the government has not put in place policies to control such conducts. Therefore, the lack of regulatory policies places heavy burdens on CDC because the agency lacks the government’s backing. These practices and policies pose another threat to CDC as it has to counteract them in order to enhance the wellbeing of citizens.

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Competitive Marketing Analysis

CDC faces huge competition from the rising number of players within the healthcare sector. They include government institutions, for-profit and non-profit organizations. The CDC’s competitors are the World Health Organization, National Center for Disease and Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and NHTSA. Similarly, APIC (Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology), SHEA (Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America), IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America), are the key competitors of CDC among other professional institutions, as they offer evidence-based epidemiological guidelines and data. The incentives that the agencies provide are the fundamental forces that shape competition. For example, managed healthcare organizations have posed a threat to CDC for their successful and innovative strategies of curbing venous thromboembolism. Besides, CDC has encountered huge competition from healthcare organizations that are deeply rooted within the communities. Communal health programs tackle complex programs that require the involvement of other organizations and community members in an immense coalition. Often, communal health problems involve complex changes in attitudes and behaviors of the recipients. However, it may not be easy for an agency to change the attitudes and behaviors of recipients in a region. Therefore, earlier and distinguished healthcare organizations act as hindrances to CDC’s efforts to venture in new regions. Moreover, CDC’s partial innovations in technology have given its competitors advantage over it. Most of the competitors have invested in point-of-care technology, which is a form of competitive adaptation. To remain aligned with the huge competition, CDC must improve the quality of its services, endorse innovations, and reduce costs.

Conclusion

Strategic analysis stipulates for strategic thinking that focuses on the internal and external forces affecting the organization. Once CDC’s issues and trends within the external and internal environment have been identified, a specific analysis is critical. The analysis is vital in understanding the organization's setting through the identification of specific aspects affecting its operations. CDC has not achieved a lot of success in its endeavors, but it has also portrayed a bright future in the health sector. In this outlook, the organization is making use of its numerous opportunities presented by disease outbreaks, technological developments, and human competencies. However, the agency is faced with major external threats, which include adverse government relations, competition from other healthcare organizations, and recurrent diseases and infections. In this case, strategic planning analysis is indispensable for CDC because it will help it to focus its marketing on regions offering the utmost benefits. CDC’s strategic planning analysis has highlighted the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, that give a rational view of the negatives and positives of the organization. The analysis is vital for decision making and strategic planning among policy groups, management teams, and program directors.

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