Developing a strategic plan requires the entire medical group to make a firm commitment to partake in the planning process and established strategies. Physician leaders and medical group administrators will need to devote time and resources to pre-strategic planning, strategic planning and post-strategic planning activities. These steps are necessary to understand where the group is now, where it wants to go and how it plans to get there.
What’s the best way to plan for our future?
When embarking on the strategic planning process, it helps to seek input about the group from staff and providers. In the past, to gather feedback, I’ve designed written questionnaires for staff and providers to complete, which has been especially helpful in groups with many providers.
Some guiding questions to help address your organizational needs include:
- What’s the ideal size of our practice? Do we want to grow? How large?
- Should the group develop formal relationships with other medical groups, hospitals or insurance companies?
- What impact does our size have on our group’s success?
- What impact does our size have on the hospital/health system and with other medical groups?
- How do our plans impact our recruitment and retention strategies?
- Do we have sufficient resource data to make intelligent decisions?
- Are capital resources adequate to achieve optimum size?
- Do we have the leadership team (physician and nonphysician) to lead our divisions?
- Do we allocate the necessary time for strategic planning activities?
Once you have a clear perspective on the direction you’re headed, set aside time for the actual strategic planning facilitation or retreat. Make sure to include board members, managing partners, executive committee members and the practice administrator, but do your best to limit the number of participants to 15. This will help ensure that you have a productive strategic planning session. And set aside plenty of time to be thorough—devote an entire day or evening session to this critical group process.
Don’t forget to set measurable objectives in the process. This way, your group can look back in a year or two and revisit how far you’ve come and whether you’ve achieved the many things you set out to accomplish.
While it may be challenging to assess the practice and pinpoint a clear direction for its future, strategic planning can help assess where you are now, where you want to go and how you plan to reach your goals.
PrincipalMGMA Healthcare Consulting Group Englewood, Colo.