Whether you’re creating a new strategic plan from scratch or you’re trying to breathe life into an old plan, I bet we can both agree that healthcare strategic planning is a tough process. But if you have the right tools at your disposal, it doesn’t have to be quite so painful!
Below, we’ll give you a quick look at six strategic planning techniques you may want to consider using—then we’ll walk through the four phases necessary to execute said strategic plan.
6 Strategic Planning Techniques
- The Balanced Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is a strategy management framework that helps you “balance” four perspectives in your organization: finances, customers, internal processes, and learning and growth. In conjunction with a strategy map, the BSC can help provide an excellent way to manage your strategy.
- The Performance Prism Model: The Performance Prism is a performance management framework with five perspectives: stakeholder satisfaction, stakeholder contribution, strategies, processes, and capabilities.
- The EFQM Excellence Model: Like the majority of these six techniques, the EFQM model can be used in conjunction with other frameworks. It combines three elements—Fundamental Concepts of Excellence, Criteria, and RADAR—to help you understand cause-and-effect relationships in your organization.
- Benchmarking: Benchmarking allows you to compare metrics in your organization to either an industry average or your competitors. This is a great targeted solution, but less of a full framework.
- Capability analysis: Conducting this analysis helps you think of your organization as a set of capabilities so you can work on identifying gaps that may represent a competitive weakness (and highlight new capabilities that could be a competitive advantage!).
- Market analysis: Conducting market research will give you a good indication of industry size, growth, and trends to be aware of. This is very helpful input for your strategic plan, but it is not a plan in and of itself.
For strategic plans in healthcare organizations to work, you need to ensure you’re following a process instead of having a free-for-all. For example, if you don’t take time to analyze what needs to go into your strategic plan, you’ll end up with a handful of pointless (and frustrating) meetings.
Take a look at the following four planning phases—they’ll help you set a solid strategic plan in place.
4 Planning Phases For A Successful Strategic Plan
1. The Analysis & Assessment Phase
First, it’s critical to gain a basic understanding of what direction you’re trying to go in (while taking into account your internal organizational structure and any external factors you have to consider). You’ll want to hold the majority of your strategy meetings during this phase. In hospitals specifically, you’ll want to figure out where you need to increase performance and focus in on your plans. This is also a good time to look at areas where you are struggling and determine what direction the regulatory and competitive environment is moving in. This will be the area of the highest and most critical need.
2. The Strategy Formulation Phase
During this phase, you’ll focus on developing your high-level strategy and documenting your organization-level strategic plan. You’ll want to pick out the goals and metrics you want to track. For example, most hospitals track metrics that deal with operations, finances, communication, internal issues, public health, and care.
Also, this is the time to look at your general organizational structure and how it links to the strategy. Do you have the right people in charge of the right aspects of your strategy. This helps create accountability and ensures things don’t fall through the cracks. For example, if you’re using the Balanced Scorecard, we encourage you to name owners and collaborators as well as what each person is responsible for therein.
3. The Strategy Execution Phase
During this phase, you’ll focus on translating your high-level plan into a more operational plan by honing in on projects and action items. At this point, we’d encourage you to look into software to help implement your strategy so you can keep all strategic elements in one place, track your progress, and keep an eye on potential improvements to be made.
4. The Plan Evaluation Phase
This final phase deals with the ongoing management process—which includes refining your plan, evaluating performance, and reporting on your data. For example, if you’re tracking all of your metrics and you see one that doesn’t align well, this is when you’d alter or enhance it to make it more applicable to your strategy.
Looking for a few more examples of strategic planning in healthcare?
Sometimes it takes seeing a few healthcare strategic plan examples to get things in motion! If you’re considering a Balanced Scorecard, check out this collection of healthcare strategy maps. These maps illustrate how other organizations have put the BSC to work for them.