Strategic planning is an important component of any successful business, but even more important in a healthcare environment that is constantly changing. It is made even more complicated when new leadership takes charge in the middle of a strategic planning cycle.
To learn more about the successful implementation and execution of a strategic plan, Medical News recently spoke with Dr. Mark Newman, executive vice president of Health Affairs at UK HealthCare.
Medical News: In your view, what is the role of a strategic plan in an organization like UK HealthCare?
Dr. Mark Newman: The strategic plan serves as a path outlining our efforts to achieve our vision. It concisely depicts the work we will do and the key initiatives we will set forth to continue making a positive impact on the commonwealth and ensuring all patients receive the highest quality care. While crafted as a path towards achieving our vision, it is dynamic and requires careful evaluation and the ability to assess and pivot, as needed, to ensure success.
MN: Can you talk about the process to develop the Strategic Plan for UK HealthCare?
Dr. Newman: The process to develop the current strategic plan lasted approximately nine months. The goal was to focus on evolving for the future of health care, which includes the provision of quality services to patients along the entire care continuum, considerations for Value-Based capabilities and a well-defined operational model. The planning process included a project structure that spanned across the major service lines and delivery systems. It included teams for clinical services, research, facility planning and financial planning, all working through a Strategic Planning Steering Committee and the overall UK HealthCare Committee. It engaged individuals from all across the healthcare system resulting in 100+ face-to-face interviews.
MN: Once the plan was developed, how was it rolled out to the employees and other key stakeholders?
Dr. Newman: An extensive communication plan engaged all levels of the organization from the HealthCare Committee to front-line staff. Various communication mediums were developed and in-person communication forums were held throughout the organization to ensure communication reached a large proportion of employees.
MN: Since you joined UK HealthCare in the middle of the strategic plan, how did you adapt to the existing plan and how did you tweak it to make it your own?
Dr. Newman: UK HealthCare always has responded well to the patient care needs of Kentuckians and in doing so has achieved tremendous growth. A key focus once I arrived was to drive the key initiatives within the plan and intensify our efforts to secure technology necessary to advance our quality, safety and value activities. To make sure we were moving towards the future model of healthcare, the plan was refined to focus more on increasing access and efficiency of our outpatient clinic services — both on campus and in the community.
MN: How successful have you been in reaching the goals set forth in the strategic plan? What areas do you expect to make further improvements?
Dr. Newman: We have been very successful in carefully identifying our focus areas around quality, safety and value, and creating the appropriate infrastructures and tools to continue driving these initiatives. Our partnerships with Lexington Surgery Center (SCA) and Lexington Clinic have provided us the ability to make sure patients are able to access high quality care within their communities.
We will continue our focus on quality, safety and value while also evaluating further options to create more access for all patients into our clinics and hospitals as we embark on managing the health of our patients in the future.
MN: As we close in on the end of the 2015-2020 strategic plan, what is next for UK HealthCare?
Dr. Newman: We will continue to serve the needs of all Kentuckians by focusing on quality, safety and value initiatives. As a leading academic medical center, it is imperative we manage the health of our patients providing them access to the right services in the right location. As the largest academic health system in Kentucky, we need to be at the forefront of responding to the challenges facing our healthcare environment and preparing to take care of our patients as well as meet the needs of those in our surrounding communities.
MN: What advice do you have for healthcare organizations that are about to go through a strategic planning process?
Dr. Newman: Take the time to understand the trends in your markets and the implications brought on by the challenging healthcare environment, but more importantly, the needs of your patients. Doing this will position you well in the front-end to determine where your priorities should be in meeting the needs of your patients and ensuring sustainability for your organization.