A 5-Step Strategic Plan for a Medical Office

Chart a course to a successful future

In any medical office, there are factors that can influence the success of the organization. The key is identifying those factors whether they are within your control or not, and developing a plan that will lead to the achievement of the organization's future goals.

This process of identifying the medical office goals and developing the plans to achieve those goals is referred to as strategic planning. Every medical office needs to develop a strategic plan whether for a new start-up or when re-evaluating an existing one. There are five areas of focus in the strategic planning process.

1
Perform an Assessment

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The organization assessment involves recognizes performing a S.W.O.T. analysis.

S = Strengths. What do you do well? Do you have a well-established practice and well-regarded providers? Do you have talented administrative and support staff? Does your physical facility and technology serve the staff and patients well?

W = Weaknesses: What is keeping you from performing at a higher level? Do you lack health information technology? Do you lack key staff who would enhance your practice?

O = Opportunities: Are there healthcare initiatives that you can capitalize on? Is there a growing need for your services, or an opportunity to shift your focus to growing needs?

T = Threats: Can you predict a loss of patients due to changing demographics? Will changes in Medicare or insurance provider reimbursements have a negative impact? Will you be losing key staff or providers?

This analysis includes an assessment of the market, an assessment of the internal conditions of the organization, and the Mission, Vision, and Values of the medical office.

The Mission, Vision, and Values portrays the overall statement of purpose of the medical office.

  • The Mission statement is the statement that best describes the purpose
  • The Vision statement identifies the overall goals for the future
  • The Values statement conveys the characteristics, traits, and qualities the organization wants to be identified with

Once an assessment has been completed, it is time to select a strategy.

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    2
    Identify a Strategy

    Doctors collaborating with a business team.
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    In this stage of the strategic planning process, you must begin to analyze the areas that support the direction of the goals of the medical office. Using the data obtained during the S.W.O.T. analysis will help to identify several strategies for each area.

    Each strategy will offer you multiple probabilities that will guide the medical office to success depending on the factors involved. Be sure to consider each of the following as you make a final decision on the strategy you choose:

    • Barriers that could lead to failure and ways they can be overcome
    • Financial information that includes budgeting, operating expenses, revenue, and expected volume
    • Use of proven strategies for successful performance

    3
    Plan the Strategy

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    Planning the strategy involves the actual development of the plan and each area the medical office will need to focus on.  Your strategic plan will need to include:

    • Goal
    • Target Completion Date
    • Key Actions
    • Necessary Resources
    • Projected Revenue

    When completed, the plan will lead to the implementation of the strategy in all directions. All levels of the staff are critical to the success of the goal and must be included. The entire team must be involved throughout the process from the beginning discussions until execution and finally monitoring the results.

    Efforts should be coordinated for the roles that will effect the plan in these supporting areas:

    1. Financing
    2. Marketing
    3. Operations
    4. Communications
    5. Policy and Procedures
    6. Development

    4
    Implement the Strategy

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    Implementation is the execution of the planning process.  This is the real work of the plan. The success of the strategic plan depends on how smoothly the day to day operations are handled.

    Possible barriers can emerge during implementation but if the medical office has already identified the possibilities and determined a plan of action to take, these should be overcome quickly and effectively.  

    The implementation stage, however, should be allowed some flexibility as no plan is developed without some areas that could use improvement.  

    One major key to successful implementation is making sure that the staff is fully informed, prepared, and knowledgeable of the organization's plans and have the appropriate resources at their disposal.

    5
    Monitor the Results

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    Although the plan has been fully executed, it still requires the benefit of being monitored for the level of effectiveness.  A plan that isn't reviewed for its effectiveness periodically is useless.  Some areas may need tweaking or changed in order to reach the maximum performance of the medical office.

    No plan is developed or executed perfectly the first time around. A strategic plan is an ongoing process of development, execution and monitoring.  

    A successful strategy is one that takes the medical office forward, towards the direction it wants to go as each area of focus is developed and executed.  It requires focus and dedication from everyone involved because the team is only as strong as it's weakest link.

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