by Sabrina Rodak http://bit.ly/15q2xtB
In the current healthcare industry, where healthcare reform measures are continually being rolled out and healthcare leaders are facing new challenges every day, maintaining a relevant strategic plan can be difficult. “Across the country, all of us are struggling to say, ‘How do we continue to provide the care for patients who need us with the massive change in the way healthcare is being delivered?'” says Cathy Fickes, RN, president and CEO of St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles. She shares how St. Vincent Medical Center uses regular review and partnerships to keep its strategy aligned with its mission and the market.
One-sheet wonders: Communicating and reviewing strategies
To easily communicate and review the hospital’s strategies, St. Vincent Medical Center summarizes its strategic plan, including its mission, vision, values and goals, in a one-page document. The leaders share this one-page summary at all levels of the organization so all employees are aware of the strategic plan and can see how their role fits into the hospital’s larger strategy. In addition, a succinct statement of the hospital’s goals facilitates progress reports, according to Ms. Fickes. “We have this one summary page you can speak to and say where you’re at. We don’t have pages and pages,” she says.
St. Vincent Medical Center’s leaders review the summary monthly and adapt its tactics and goals for the year as necessary. Annually, the hospital leadership team reviews the entire strategic plan and develops goals for one, three and five years out. “Once upon a time, we used to think 10 years out. Now, it’s much more immediate; we have one-, three- and five-year goals,” Ms. Fickes says.
Staying connected within and outside the hospital
An important way to ensure a strategic plan continues to be appropriate for the organization and market overall is to be in touch with stakeholders both in and outside the hospital. “Stay closely connected with the community and doctors,” Ms. Fickes says. She also suggests hospital leaders consider partnership opportunities as hospitals begin to redefine their role in the community as population health managers instead of only healers of the sick. “We’re trying to make sure we’re in the right place to develop relationships to provide population health management and a continuum of care for the patient,” she says. “We are aware that we’re not an isolated entity; we’re part of a larger community where we can hold each other up and strengthen each other.” For example, St. Vincent Medical Center partners with convalescent homes, emergency medicine providers and other hospitals under its parent health system, Daughters of Charity Health System based in Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Optimism in the face of uncertainty
While the turbulent healthcare environment challenges healthcare leaders to be flexible in developing and adapting their strategic plans, it also creates an opportunity for innovation, according to Ms. Fickes. “Healthcare is facing a time of extraordinary challenge. In times of confusion and chaos are when the best things happen,” she says. “Tradition has been set aside and we’re all searching for new ways of dong things. I’m optimistic we will find new ways of providing better care to our patients.”