The healthcare field is always changing and progressing at a rate unlike any other. Over the past few decades it has become more and more important to plan for the future in order for any healthcare practice to be successful for years to come. By planning for the unknown, hospitals, clinics, private practices and other organizations in the healthcare field can be better equipped for whatever may come along down the road.
From the financial side of running an organization, to structural decisions within the hospital or clinic, planning is a necessity. A hospital strategic plan allows for more efficiency in all aspects of the business of running a practice, no matter how big or small.
What is Strategic Planning in Healthcare?
Many people wonder what strategic planning is in healthcare and, fortunately, the answer is simple. Strategic health planning involves creating objectives and setting goals for where a company would like to go in the future, and then constructing a plan to achieve these objectives. In this industry especially, healthcare planning must take into account potential government policy changes, technological advancements and economic trends that could change an organization’s operations in a significant way.
The importance of strategic planning in healthcare should not go unnoticed by any hospital or health system looking to succeed not only in the short run, but long term as well.
One key factor that should be the basis to strategic planning in healthcare organizations is the organization of the institution. Understanding the organization of the institution and how this organization is necessary for the entire system to succeed is important in creating an effective plan with specific strategies.
Sometimes reevaluating who controls which aspects of the business, and the hierarchy that follows, can be beneficial.
Having a sound foundation in which the organization is built upon is important so that communication and ideas can flow freely while implementing strategic healthcare planning. Designing company goals and a path to achieve these objectives allows staff at every level, from administrators to physicians, to have a drive and passion that is extremely important in the medical field.
Benefits of Strategic Planning in Healthcare
The benefits of strategic planning in healthcare are numerous mainly because healthcare planning is composed of many components. Like most businesses, hospitals and healthcare institutions are operating at many levels. From patient care to financing, health systems need to plan for the future in more ways than one.
Unlike traditional plans, strategic planning takes into account what is to come for every sector of the organization, taking into account foreseeable changes for all departments.
The importance of strategic planning in healthcare is also seen when looking at an organization’s productivity. Most institutions believe that they are being as efficient as possible, however, taking a closer look at productivity can provide insight as to where improvements can be made and more specific plans can be set.
Some of the key areas that a hospital strategic plan can significantly improve include:
- Company Culture
- Goals and Objectives
- Operating Budgeting
- Service Line Decisions
- Risk Management
- Capital Planning
- Cost Accounting
- Long Range Forecasting
Questions At The Forefront Of All Healthcare Strategic Planning
Although every organization operates with a plan that is tailored to personal goals and objectives, hospitals and healthcare systems should ask themselves some crucial questions prior to strategic health planning.
What are the financial goals of the organization? Will the implemented changes have a positive impact on these goals?
Financial goals are different for every institution. Focusing on specific, attainable goals for the future of any organization’s finances is key in ensuring that the strategic plans that the organization makes will be beneficial in the long run.
Looking into the implications that the change that come with new plans for the future will have on finances is key in making strategic decisions.
Setting goals prior to strategic planning will help ensure these plans will positively impact the organization in the future.
Where can the organization grow?
Just because a hospital’s strategic plan is made does not necessarily mean that the plan is as effective as possible. Effective strategic plans take into account where an organization can grow. In some cases, growth is not possible in one area, but is in another. Healthcare institutions should look into the financial gains of growth through expansion in location, new access points, and services before beginning to plan.
What are the needs of the population that the organization serves? Will these needs change?
Healthcare systems and hospitals are designed to serve patients however they need. Although the demand for healthcare institutions will always be high, the way in which these institutions will be needed may change.
Understanding future market trends and industry directions is important in order to plan ahead for what patients will need.
How can the organization bridge the gap in achieving critical success factors?
Many times healthcare systems understand the success factors that are necessary to carry out the institution’s vision, but have difficulty implementing them in day to day functions. Strategic planning should incorporate a way to carry out these factors so that success can be achieved efficiently.
Understanding the Healthcare Market
The goals set by an organization cannot be carried out unless there are sound financial and organizational plans set in motion. Unfortunately, understanding the healthcare market is tricky when the system is so volatile. The cost of medical technology and other funds necessary to run a functional healthcare business is not steady.
Changes in policy and law occur periodically, increasing the need for strategic planning in healthcare. Without the proper knowledge it is not easy to know where prices are going, and in which areas to save. Evaluating which investments are more risky than others is important to ensure every decision made is one that will be beneficial down the road.
In order for any business, especially a hospital or medical practice, to stay afloat, long term goals must be determined and eventually met for the longevity of the business. To do so, an analysis of the local markets and the industry as a whole must be conducted to predict the future of these markets.
Being able to accurately predict forecasts is imperative when dealing with multi-million dollar funds. This is not an easy feat if data is not carefully considered, and strategic hospital and health planning has not been conducted thoroughly by those who fully know how to prepare for what is ahead.
The Strata Decision Solution: StrataJazz
At Strata Decision Technology, we have a knack for understanding medical markets and ensuring all future targets are seen through for our customers. We have created an all in one system, StrataJazz, which allows leaders in the healthcare industry to strategically plan for what is to come, increasing efficiency across the board.
In the United States, 1 in 5 hospitals have integrated our platform into their organization, resulting in maximum productivity at all levels. StrataJazz is the solution for all that encompasses strategic healthcare planning, like budgeting, tracking, equipment replacement, monthly variance, and productivity reporting.
StrataJazz incorporates our customers past and current data to better understand where cost improvements can be made and money can be saved. The Strata Decision experts take into account the organization’s goals, both financially and organizationally.
Through powerful analytics and tactful planning, StrataJazz provides operational budgeting and capital planning strategies that are guaranteed to improve how any healthcare organization functions from the ground up.
StrataJazz’s strategic hospital planning uses sophisticated models to determine a long term plan, by understanding operating margins. By incorporating investment goals and how they will likely impact the organization’s P&L, cash flow, and balance sheet, StrataJazz increases the predictability of how to save and where to invest. Short term impacts of market dynamics are analyzed, which can be helpful in understanding where the market may head.
We compare the company’s performance to the leaders in rating agency’s outlooks, including those of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P. Organizational decisions will also be more accurate through case by case scenario analytics.
Key To Financial Stability
There is risk involved in any investing, but StrataJazz helps manage and assess risk to ensure a more stable financial future. Our system will predict what changes in reimbursements, salaries, and volume can do to performance.
Through analysis tools and scenario modeling, uncertainty in future markets can be minimized, allowing more strategic healthcare planning and decisions to be made. Rolling forecasting used by StrataJazz evaluates risk factors like discrepancies in bundled payments, mergers and acquisitions.
By providing timely and accurate monthly projections and key performance indicators, opportunities for improvements financially, in patient care, and in staff productivity are endless.
Strata Decision Technology has found the key to successful strategic healthcare planning. We have a passion for helping healthcare systems budget and create a long term hospital strategic plan to ensure a safe and successful future. Through detailed analytics and expert advice, StrataJazz will improve the financial status of any healthcare organization in the present and for the future.
We do the hard work for you, allowing you to focus on your number one priority: your patients.