Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who fail to plan are planning to fail.”
We know, we know. Never start an article with a quote. But when in comes to managing healthcare in 2015, the above quote from Franklin could not ring more true, and strategy matters now more than ever.
In this day and age, the key to a successful strategy is to keep it specific, with measurable goals and clear milestones. If you’re like other healthcare organizations and leaders, you’ve probably gotten away without this kind of precise strategy for years, and you’ve likely even been successful without it. As you’ve undoubtedly noticed in healthcare costs, policies, and care models, however, times are changing in healthcare, and the organizations without strong strategies are facing new and unforeseen challenges, while those with strategies continue to persevere.
When it comes to improving patient care, what’s your strategy? What are your specific goals?
If your strategy and goals for this year consist of vague inferences, or if you don’t even know which area to focus on first, it might be time to regroup, rethink, and re-strategize.
Here are a few healthcare-specific tips for creating a strategy that is sure to be successful:
- Concentrate on the value of your services. There was a time in healthcare when the focus was on providing and marketing as many services as possible at modest prices. Due to changes in insurance provisions, declining revenues, decreased reimbursement, and an increased emphasis on emotional intelligence, the value of your services and internal leadership is becoming far more important than the brand or even the revenue. Patients and providers alike are interested in healthcare organizations that offer high-quality services with good value.
- Improve patient experience. In need of a new goal? Here’s one: Put more attention into improving the value, services, and overall experience for your patients. There was a time when financial margins and growth targets measured success. These days, however, greater success can be found in organizations that focus on improving the health in your community, supporting physician leadership, furthering education within your organization, and always researching new strategies and solutions to improve the overall patient experience.
- Focus on your current range of business. All too often, we view our organization as the one small structural sector for which we are responsible. Instead, focus on improving the full cycle of care. After all, different organizational care sites tend to be linked, meaning that when is one weakened, they all are. Although you certainly can’t focus on every patient and every healthcare specialty, try to broaden your strategy to include your entire patient population as much as possible.
- Determine your competitive differentiator. Although we said earlier that your brand is not as important as it used to be, it is still important to understand the qualities that make your organization different from others. Maybe your organization offers better solutions and services than your competitors, or maybe your services and solutions are similar, but your prices are more reasonable—whatever your differentiator may be, try to find a way to connect to your patients in a way that is reasonable, understanding, efficient, and convenient.
- Look at the big picture, as well as the small one. In addition to your overall strategy, create smaller, more concentrated areas of focus, with set milestones. For instance, if your goal is to improve patient experience, in addition to focusing on the organization as a whole, create smaller, more manageable goals for each business unit. In healthcare, each unit is integrated, and creating strategies that are equally integrated just makes sense.
The single-most important point to remember about improving both customer and physician experience is to create goals that are measurable and strongly anchored in value. It is absolutely imperative for organizations to create solutions that focus on improving value for the patients, while also hiring physicians who will act as leaders and whose personal values align with the overall strategy of the organization.
Our team understands the roles leaders play in improving the overall value of their organization, and we also understand that only those with durable strategies will survive. For help creating the customized strategies and goals to better improve your organization and the leadership within, contact a Coors Healthcare Solutions consultant today.