Healthcare Planning and Evaluation

Learning Plan 5

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Matrix is deemed another effective tool to guide the American Heart Association’s strategic planning. The tool was introduced in 1973 and the main idea behind it is that individual products and units precondition a company’s competitiveness (Boston Consulting Group, 1973). While planning its subsequent development, the company is to determine products/units that are worth further investing, as well as the ones the funding should be discontinued. Analysis of the American Heart Association’s performance resulted in the BCG matrix, presented in the chart below. The response further analyzes key elements of the chart.

Chart 1

BCG Matrix for the American Heart Association

Question Marks (Low market share/high market growth)   ResearchStars (High market share/high market growth)   National/foreign partnerships
Dogs (Low market share/low market growth)   Support activities    Cash Cows (High market share/low market growth)   Heartsaver® Courses  


In BCG matrix, dogs indicate the divisions, products or services that are not doing well (Boston Consulting Group, 1973). The major problem with the dogs is that they neither draw, nor generate cash (Boston Consulting Group, 1973). In the matrix above, American Heart Association’s support services act as dogs which can be attributed to several reasons. In the first place, support services are a constant source of expenditure because the number of individuals, acting as caregivers is growing exponentially. Moreover, a large percentage of caregivers reject the services because their priorities are in no way related to their own persona.

Question Marks

Question marks refer to products/divisions that have low share in markets that are growing (Boston Consulting Group, 1973). Since question marks are not cash generators, companies may decide to discontinue investing in them. In the case of American Heart Association, research activities are a question mark. On the one hand, research is likely to demonstrate a positive effect across all dimensions of health care (Stevens, 2013). For instance, understanding of the risk factors can potentially reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in American society. On the other hand, healthcare research is often costly, while its short- and long-term implications may seem unclear to potential investors.

Cash Cows

Unlike previously analyzed elements, cash cows generate more cash than they actually consume. Evidently, this is the main reason why companies choose to invest in cash cows. Analyzing BCG matrix, the American Heart Association is recommended to invest in its Heartsaver® Courses. These courses are designed for individuals with little or no medical training who need a course completion card for job, regulatory, or other reasons (American Heart Association, 2017). It is projected that in the future, the number of individuals who need training will continue to grow. This assumption is based on the previously mentioned statistics of cardiovascular diseases in American society.


Finally, BCG encourages considering stars – products/divisions that generate excitement and cash (Boston Consulting Group, 1973). Analyzing the matrix above, it is argued that in the American Heart Association, the greatest amount of excitement and cash is associated with national and foreign partnerships. The idea behind this statement is that partnership is a means of augmenting existing assets and generating new ones.


Boston Consulting Group matrix is an effective analytical tool that could facilitate the American Heart Association’s strategic planning. Application of this tool suggests that the American Heart Association should continue investing in Heartsaver® Courses and partnerships. Meanwhile, it should be cautious with research and support services.


American Heart Association (2017). Heartsaver® courses. Retrieved from

Boston Consulting Group (1973). The Experience Curve - reviewed. Retrieved from

Stevens, K. P. (2013). The impact of evidence-based practice in nursing and the next big ideas. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 18(2). Retrieved from