Strategic planning for health care organizations is more important than ever before given the uncertainties about health care reform and rapidly changing market dynamics. In the past, strategic plans have been used to identify growth opportunities and prioritize capital needs; however, in the post-reform era, growth does not necessarily mean expansion, but rather integrating high-quality care and service while containing costs. Previous strategies must now be revisited as strategic priorities are shifting across all health care organizations.
While management typically understands the value of strategic planning, communicating its importance to other key stakeholders is imperative. Clearly articulating the importance of whyyour organization is engaging in the strategic planning process is critical to obtaining buy-in, ranging from the leadership who will develop the plan to the staff who will implement the strategies. We’ve compiled a list of benefits that we’ve seen providers experience as a result of their strategic planning process.
- Creates a road map for the future: Strategic planning provides an organizational roadmap for future growth and development. While much of the future health care environment is uncertain, strategic plans will help your organization secure and control its future by determining organizational direction and focus.
- Sets priorities: The planning process assesses your organization’s current state and its anticipated future environment to set priorities for crucial tasks that must be addressed in the next three to five years to help your organization thrive.
- Allocates resources: Strategic plans help an organization allocate its resources effectively to meet long-term goals, as opposed to short-term objectives that are important but may not produce the highest potential payoff.
- Provides both a process and plan:As opposed to short-term and concrete operational plans, strategic plans are conceptual and prospective. The strategic planning process gathers input and ideas from multiple stakeholders within the organization to build consensus and gain commitment to the determined direction/priorities.
Have you completed a strategic planning process recently? If so, what has your organization gained from the process? Do you feel better positioned for health reform?