It is essential for marketers to actively monitor and evaluate environmental forces that are beyond the control of the responsibility of managing entities, in an effort to capitalize on opportunities and avoid or eliminate threats. A useful tool for performing this evaluative task is known as the PEST Analysis.
This analysis involves the assessment of a series of macroenvironmental variables-political, economic, social, and technological-that can potentially influence organizations.
Political, Economic, Social, and Technological forces are defined as follows:
Political forces involve all aspects associated with the legal and political framework of the environment, including (e.g., recent election placed friends of quality healthcare in office, state lawmakers recognize looming long-term care crisis, legislation pending regarding rural health improvement initiative). Although the political environment influences all industries, it has an even more profound impact on the healthcare industry.
This increased political attention is due to the unique role of healthcare in society.
Economic forces involve all aspects associated with the economy of a society, including factors related to economic health (e.g., inflation, unemployment, income). In weak economies, healthcare entities might scale back or even eliminate product offerings.
The social climate of a society impacts virtually every organization operating within the particular environment. Social forces include such aspects as the demographic composition and system of values and beliefs of a society.
Technological forces significantly influence broad society, including the healthcare industry.
Healthcare industry has greatly benefited from technological innovations, which have become frequent and expected in society. Noninvasive medical technologies, advanced surgical techniques, and procedures, and therapeutic and curative pharmaceuticals represent only a few of the many healthcare innovations that significantly improve the health of a population.