Learn how strategic management in healthcare is one of your best resources.
As a leading strategy management software provider, we’ve helped numerous healthcare organizations plan and execute their goals for the future. Keep reading to get our take on why strategic management in healthcare is critical for succeeding in a volatile world, and learn a few tips that can help you carry out strategic planning more effectively.
Strategic management in healthcare is the process of defining the future of your organization, setting goals that will move you toward that future, and determining the major projects you’ll take on to meet those goals. It also includes sustaining that strategy focus over a period of three to five years.
Why is strategic management important in healthcare?
Like other companies, healthcare organizations benefit from having a plan for the future—one that all employees are aware of and consistently working toward. Strategy should serve as a guidepost for all important decisions to make sure your facility stays on track.
But as we mentioned above, healthcare is even more complex than your average business—and frequently affected by external forces. If asked to describe how strategic management helps your facility control the future, we’d answer with the following:
Mission and vision are the cornerstones of your organization and provide a foundation for strategic planning. Make sure the priorities and objectives outlined in your plan support those key elements—and reconsider any goals that are not aligned.
Too many healthcare organizations try to be everything to everyone. As a result, their strategies touch nearly every base imaginable, from being the best at research and innovation to serving as many potential patients as possible to being customer-centric, etc. Narrowing down your strategy requires courage—it may feel as if you’re passing up opportunities to improve. But in reality, you run the risk of not excelling in anything if you’re trying to achieve everything. Home in on the areas you want to pursue and direct your resources and energy to accomplishing those specific goals.
If you’re pursuing an accreditation or award like PHAB or Baldrige, your strategic plan needs to align with that goal. Make sure your plan points you in the right direction and supports tracking all the data required by the administering body.
Periodically analyzing your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats, is a useful exercise that can inform your strategic plan. Follow the steps outlined here to complete the analysis, and see some healthcare-specific examples.
Strategic plans are only effective if everyone knows about them. Every department head should be charged with explaining how their team fits into the strategy and why it matters. (Read some tips here on how to effectively communicate with employees.) You’ll also need to create tailored presentations for other stakeholders—patients, administrators, community members, etc.
And finally, remember: Don’t overload yourself and your team with goals and metrics right out of the gate—having too many makes it hard to prioritize and makes communication difficult. Ease into it. The first year, start by creating a high-level plan for the organization as a whole; the following year, try to tackle planning for business units, service lines, etc.
Understanding why strategic planning is important in healthcare is the first step; however, the strategic planning process is complex.
In fact, creating the strategy is just the tip of the iceberg. Once it’s been launched, you need to know if you’re making progress—and that requires reporting regularly on your results.
Reporting can sink even the best strategy efforts because, without the right tools, strategy management quickly becomes overwhelming. ClearPoint is the only strategy reporting software that helps healthcare organizations effectively manage all the fundamental activities that go into reporting:
When it comes down to it, the fundamental challenge of strategic management in healthcare is managing it all—coordinating resources and people to ensure everyone is continuously working toward a common goal, and staying on top of your successes and failures.
Ted is a Founder and Managing Partner of ClearPoint Strategy and leads the sales and marketing teams.