Planning and performance tools essential in healthcare
The pace of change in healthcare is unprecedented and frankly, is potentially life threatening for some healthcare organizations. Even more daunting is the fact that it is largely unknown exactly what the changes will be when all is said and done, and how organizations will need to meet those changes successfully. As a healthcare organization, what can you do to not only survive, but thrive? Where do you start? What tools do you use?
We aim to help you answer that question with information, tools and practical steps. Healthcare organizations can’t afford not to have a survival strategy in operation. And that survival strategy must employ innovation to meet change head-on. Below we list 5 key pieces of a survival strategy for healthcare organizations and below that 4 tools to start you on your way.
The survival strategy
Here is a 5-pronged approach for a sound survival strategy:
- Establish innovative partnerships to deliver care in order to reduce costs and expand market share. Eliminate internal competition. For example, doctors and hospitals need to get out of competition with each other on services. The result is that they cannibalize each other and both suffer.
- Examine strategies to use technology (telemedicine, etc) in ways that allow all medical staff to operate at top of their license. In today’s healthcare, doctors are doing what specialists used to do, nurses do what doctors used to do. How can you use technology to help your staff provide exceptional service at the top of their license and training?
- Define you unique selling proposition. To do this, you need to understand your customers. What satisfies and dissatisfies them? What service can you give that separates you from your competition and moves a patient to select your service? For example, in one community, public transit buses advertise that there is no wait time in ER of one local hospital. The rival hospital is known for longer wait times. There is no comparison of care provided, but rather the focus is on one customer need that the hospital has won hands down, wait time. What separates you from your competition that is valuable in your customer’s eyes?
- Healthcare organizations need to monitor and improve healthcare outcomes. The government will pay less and less services rendered, and instead is focused on paying for satisfactory outcomes, to the extent that there are/will be penalties for providers with substandard outcomes. To this end, organizations need to partner in this because they are held responsible for performance of their peers, i.e., a hospital can be penalized for the performance of doctor who practices there even though he or she is not an employee of hospital.
- Finally, healthcare organizations must be innovative in containing costs. How? One possibility is using lower salaried personnel to deliver services, i.e., have your staff work at the top of their license in giving care. Another method? Streamline your processes to eliminate duplication of effort and provide top-notch care with less outlay of resources.
What tools are needed to develop the survival strategy?
There is a range of useful tools to address any one of the 5 key steps above. We have targeted four that combine innovation with clear goals and defined accountability to make needed changes:
- Healthcare strategic planning: Any time there is dramatic change in an industry, as there is in healthcare, there is tremendous stress within organizations themselves. A solid strategic planning system should address ways to grow an organization through developing carefully chosen strategic projects alongside internal projects that focus on fixing critical internal issues. The result is sustained growth in a more effective and efficient healthcare institution. Read more about key strategic planning tools here.
- Healthcare performance improvement or change management: Healthcare facilities and providers must clearly define and optimize the processes in a healthcare facility. With clearly defined and streamlined processes in place, staff receive consistent training, deliver consistent care and are therefore able to achieve more consistent and reliable outcomes both for the patient and the organization. Read more about the essential keys to successfully implementing change here.
- Healthcare metrics: Measures that track core processes, unique selling propositions, care delivery, etc. are essential to track and monitor. Through reliable data, needed changes can be identified and innovative solutions tracked for their success or further development. Learn more about implementing and tracking metrics here.
- Healthcare project management: Opening new facilities, combining services or practices, undergoing major change initiatives all require comprehensive project management tools that deliver needed results on-time and on-budget. Needed project management skills are described here.
How do you navigate it all?
What can you do to navigate safely and successfully through the sea of change in healthcare? Begin small, just be sure to begin. Look back through the 5 pronged approach above, check out successful solutions below and scour our site for tips on implementing the tools described. When you reach a roadblock, we are here to help. Call (877) 276-4414 or e-mail us with your questions, and we can steer you back on course with the tools and guidance you need to successfully weather the storms ahead.
Examples of successful plans and projects
Strategic planning for a cancer research and treatment center
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, an internationally recognized cancer research and treatment center in the Pacific Northwest, utilized PGS’s Vision Navigation to create a 5-year strategic plan. Because of past resistance to planning, the SCCA wanted to partner in the design of the planning process. We worked with management to design a process that was transparent, objective and viewed as having clinical integrity.
The outcome was to develop a plan for optimizing the investments in program expansion across 23 separate clinical programs. The process, investment criteria and resulting plan was well received by clinical faculty, which enabled successful execution of vital investments in the center’s growth over the 5 year planning period.
Medical Home Model for a CHC
A clinical director of a growing community health center approached PGS concerning his long-held vision for a truly integrated “Medical Home” stating that he needed to make it happen, but wasn’t sure where to start.
Using our change management tool, Process Advantage™, we helped the project team to fully codify the new model of care and then develop an implementation plan to implement the new model. Once fully operational, the CHC’s innovative medical home model was widely recognized as cutting edge and a way forward for other primary care providers. See the following news release on their success.
Poor culture impacting performance
A large hospital in the southwest needed a solution to address poor process performance and a lack of teamwork between departments. Long-standing unresolved issues and a poor corporate culture contributed to the hospital’s problems.
PGS designed a customized approach making extensive use of staff teams to define strategic priorities as well as input from all staff regarding issues to be addressed in optimizing performance. The combination of Vision Navigation®, Dynamic Planning® and Process Advantage® resulted in major improvements in the culture of the organization and resolution of long-standing issues. The end results included a 16% growth in revenue and greatly improved staff morale/faith in leadership.