5 Tips For Strategic Planning Professionals in Healthcare

Enhance your strategic planning with our 5 tips for healthcare professionals. Elevate your planning and contribute to your organization's success now!
5 Tips For Strategic Planning Professionals in Healthcare
Enhance your strategic planning with our 5 tips for healthcare professionals. Elevate your planning and contribute to your organization's success now!

In healthcare, things change quickly. Some hospitals and healthcare organizations believe that’s a reason to avoid strategic planning—because the change lurking just around the bend is sure to derail even the best-laid plans. But the truth is, a strategy can be your best resource in times of change, as long as it’s grounded in your mission and vision.

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.

Looking for some examples of healthcare strategic plans? Download sample strategy maps created specifically for medical and healthcare organizations like yours.

Strategic Management In Healthcare: What is it?

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:

  • The strategic planning process naturally includes assessing changes in the external environment (through exercises like the SWOT analysis) and thus helps your organization stay on top of them.
  • It provides focus and direction for daily work even as circumstances (internal or external) may change.
  • It provides leaders with a consistent flow of information about organizational performance, promoting better, more timely decision-making. The availability of such data also helps organizations reprioritize or pivot as needed.

5 Tips For Healthcare Strategic Planning Professionals

1. Keep your organization’s mission top-of-mind.

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.

2. Narrow your strategy’s focus.

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.

3. Align your plan with in-progress accreditations or certifications.

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.

4. Do a SWOT analysis.

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.

5. Communicate.

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.

Support Your Efforts With ClearPoint Strategy Reporting Software

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:

  • You need to gather data that will help you draw conclusions about your performance. Your data is likely scattered across locations, systems, and services. ClearPoint seamlessly integrates with your on-premise and SaaS software applications to make data collection easy.
  • You need to pull together data in a way that helps you make sense of it. In ClearPoint, you can make sense of any data set. Use data aggregations and complex calculations to get your data in any format you need. Then, automatically evaluate your results so it’s easy to tell if you’re on track.
  • You need to analyze data to understand the story it is telling. ClearPoint allows you to link projects with strategy objectives to understand how everything you’re doing fits together; it also facilitates the analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data. This allows your organization to spot problems early and make corrections to areas that need the most help.
  • You need to create reports that your leadership teams can review and discuss for decision-making purposes. With ClearPoint, you can create beautifully branded reports (and dashboards like the one below) for any audience—your board, your management team, and your individual providers. ClearPoint lets you create reports in a variety of formats and even schedule reports to automatically generate and send.

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.


How can strategic planning improve the performance of an organization?

Strategic planning improves the performance of an organization by providing a clear direction and framework for decision-making. It aligns resources and efforts with long-term objectives, identifies potential risks and opportunities, and ensures that all departments are working towards common goals. This results in increased efficiency, better resource allocation, and improved overall performance.

Why is strategic planning important in healthcare?

Strategic planning in healthcare is important because it helps organizations navigate the complex and rapidly changing healthcare environment. It ensures that resources are used effectively to improve patient care, meet regulatory requirements, and achieve financial stability. Strategic planning also helps healthcare organizations set priorities, allocate resources, and measure progress towards their goals, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes and organizational sustainability.

Why do strategic plans fail?

Strategic plans fail for several reasons:

- Lack of Clear Objectives: Vague or unrealistic goals can lead to confusion and lack of focus.
- Poor Communication: Failure to communicate the plan to all stakeholders can result in lack of alignment and commitment.
- Inadequate Resources: Insufficient resources, including time, budget, and personnel, can hinder implementation.
- Lack of Flexibility: Inability to adapt the plan to changing circumstances can make it obsolete.
- Poor Execution: Failure to translate the plan into actionable steps and monitor progress can lead to poor outcomes.

How is strategic planning done?

Strategic planning is done through a systematic process that includes:

- Defining Vision and Mission: Establishing the organization's purpose and long-term aspirations.
- Conducting Analysis: Performing SWOT or PESTEL analyses to understand internal and external factors.
- Setting Goals: Defining specific, measurable objectives.
- Developing Strategies: Creating broad approaches and initiatives to achieve the goals.
- Allocating Resources: Ensuring necessary resources are available and properly allocated.
- Implementing Plans: Executing the strategies and action plans.
- Monitoring and Evaluating: Continuously tracking progress and making adjustments as needed.

Who does strategic planning?

Strategic planning is typically done by senior leadership and management teams within an organization. This often includes executives, department heads, and key stakeholders. In larger organizations, strategic planning may also involve input from board members, employees, and external consultants to ensure a comprehensive and inclusive approach.

Use Case: Healthcare Quality Improvement
Quality Improvement Use Case Download
5 Tips For Strategic Planning Professionals in Healthcare

Ted Jackson

Co-Founder & Alabama Native

Ted is a Founder and Managing Partner of ClearPoint Strategy and leads the sales and marketing teams.

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