Strategic planning for healthcare facilities is necessary for the overall well-being of the organization. (3 Minute Overview). The American College of Health Executives (ACHE) says two main types of strategic planning are often used in healthcare facilities: prospective and emergent. You may want to employ a feasibility study to see if your goal is attainable.
You will look at the long-term and overall benefits of each move before you put them into action. Most of the actions will focus on goals you aim to accomplish years down the road and the direction you want your facility to go. Many great strategies are out there, and you need to decide how you want your organization to operate to achieve your goals.
What strategies are common in strategic planning for healthcare facilities?
A good strategy uses the available resources and skills and builds on them for the future. Strategic decisions require a great number of resources and are not easy decisions to undo. That’s why you need to correctly plan your decisions. A good strategic decision aligns with the mission of your facility and your future goals. As approaches to patient care are always evolving, our strategic plans must also. Here are some key questions to ask as you plan for your organization.
Prospective strategies involve future issues that will affect the entire healthcare field. These strategies focus on future needs like personnel and staffing needs. They should be flexible and allow for changes to healthcare that are unforeseeable, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emergent strategies use retrospective analysis to make better choices in the future. These strategies must be extremely flexible as the market is constantly volatile. They look at the competitors in the field, and they address both major and minor changes in healthcare.
At what levels should you implement strategic planning for healthcare facilities?
According to the ACHE, you can employ healthcare facility planning strategies at three levels: corporate, business and functional.
The corporate level involves the board of directors, executive staff and stakeholders and affects the whole organization. The strategy functions at this level to help define your mission, and it focuses on your organization’s goals.
The business-level involves management at your healthcare facility. Strategic planning for healthcare facilities at a business level finds ways to make the corporate-level ideas doable at the employee level.
The functional level focuses on the connection between your clients/patients and your products or services. It supports the corporate and business levels and their actions. The functional level combines research, marketing, production and distribution of services to your clients.
How should you develop and implement your plan?
The way you work out your strategic plan and put it into practice is extremely important. What good is a plan if you can’t carry it out?
- Gather information and think about the plan.
- Develop steps to executing that plan.
- Operationalize those efforts.
- Execute, monitor, and adjust the plan.
To get a clear understanding of your facility and clients, consider your goals and ask the following questions: Strategic Planning in Healthcare – Crucial Questions.
- How will your decision affect other aspects of your facility?
- If you are reallocating staff, make sure the departments you take the staff from can still function with their resources.
- Is the decrease in resources enough to hire more staff to cover them?
- Where do you need to increase your resources currently?
- Can you financially support your changes?
- More and more, social determinants of health are being used to help predict patient outcomes. Who are your clients?
- Are you meeting your clients’ needs? What can you do to personalize your service?
- What are your current strengths?
- What are your current or anticipated weaknesses?
Break down your big goals into steps and smaller goals that can be accomplished at each level. Figure out what resources you’ll need to follow through with your goals.
Once the goals are set, assign them to staff in your facility. You might make changes gradually or focus on one level or area of the facility at a time.
Execute, monitor, and reassess
Begin taking the actions. Monitor how employees carry them out and how they affect your business, your employees, and your clients. Regularly reassess your plan to correct missteps and to keep up with current changes and needs in healthcare.
The results are rarely immediate, which can be frustrating to some. It may take years for you to see your goals being accomplished. However, by following this strategic planning process, you can be confident that eventually, you’ll see results.
Next steps in strategic planning for healthcare facilities
You can always improve communication with your staff. Communication about changes is important to make sure everyone works as a team. Teamwork and leadership will provide a great foundation for your facility, and strategic planning is the place to start. You may need help implementing or planning your strategies, and seeking expert advice is generally advised.
Along with meeting your clients’ needs, you need to make sure that you are meeting market trends and healthcare rules and regulations. Strategic planning for your healthcare facility gets you ready for the future in this ever-changing “industry” and helps you take advantage of technological advances.