1. Begin the strategic planning process by making sure the plan addresses what the practice is all about and what it represents to the community. This means the goals and the decisions outlined in the strategic plan must be aligned with the practice’s mission and its vision. It is important to articulate the significance of this from the onset and revisit it as you go through the many processes of strategic brainstorming, goal-setting and formulating the written plan. The decisions and actions identified in the strategic plan must be authentic to your very purpose in being a medical practice.
2. Next, identify what differentiates your practice from its competition. It is critical to examine market data to understand external factors that may impact the practice now and in the future. It is also critical to take an objective look at the practices strengths and weaknesses, exploring what opportunities this presents and what obstacles must be overcome. Typically this iis called a SWOT analysis. These analytical steps help the practice address issues it must contend with and make appropriate strategic decisions based on the reality of your market position.
3. Practice-wide engagement is required to get the organizational support needed to succeed with implementing a strategic plan. It includes defining and communicating your strategic goals and determining everyone’s strategic responsibility in achieving those goals. Once the strategic plan is approved, invest time in developing an approach to share the information throughout the practice – from the data-entry clerk to the billing department, and from the clinical support staff to and the providers that care for patients. Everyone has a role in executing the strategic plan. You need the entire teams support and commitment.
4. Finally, the strategic plan should transform the practice. It is a living document that changes with time. It must drive changes and shift behaviors. Transforming the practice over time includes a process of exploring strategic choices and making essential decisions that contribute to achieving your strategic goals. This requires open on-going and honest discussions and monitoring progress along the way. Schedule periodic meetings where everyone participates and visibly support decisions that are made. This should result in a practice transformation that is resilient and meaningful to your mission.
By respecting these important strategic planning process elements you can build a solid strategic plan that drives your future, is prepared to deal with the unexpected changes brought on by the Accountable Care Act, and will ready your practice to move beyond surviving to a thriving organization.
Want more information? Attend “The Secrets to Strategic Planning” a webinar sponsored by Greenbranch Publishing on May 8th: More information on this webinar can be found here.