Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations
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Differentiated Service Lines Checklist – Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations

This comprehensive checklist is designed to help you build strong, competitively differentiated service lines. It guides you in deciding which service lines to build and, subsequently, guides vision creation, market analysis of the opportunities, andimplementation plans for these priority service lines. Addressing these factors will take time. However, it is wise to consider them as you start building your service line plans when completing strategic planning in healthcare organizations. 

Prioritizing Service Lines

Your organization must first decide where to focus.  You should prioritize service lines that can propel the organization forward, from a clinical and financial perspective.  In deciding on priorities, have you considered:

  • The clinical capabilities in the service, including physician expertise
  • Profitability of the service line
  • Potential market size
  • Strengths of competitors and issues that may create barriers to success

Hospitals can rarely successfully address more than two service lines simultaneously.

Creating Your Vision

Based on input from various stakeholders, you need to create a vision for the service line.  We generally recommend looking ten years into the future.  This process will help you identify key leverage points and help create a common understanding of the goals of the endeavor.  In developing the vision, at a minimum you must consider these ten points. 

  1. Clinical and support service scope
  2. Clinical performance and outcomes
  3. Incremental physician expertise required
  4. Revenue, cost and profitability goals
  5. Referring physician relationships
  6. Geographic Reach
  7. Patient experience expectations, including access
  8. Differentiation from competitors
  9. Consumer perceptions of service line, and marketing plan
  10. Accreditations to pursue

Service Line Analytics

Understanding the opportunity requires a significant analytic effort.  Key elements of service line level analyses that should be performed when strategic planning in healthcare organizations are defined below in their relevant categories.

Market Analytics

  • Understand from where your service line attracts patients
  • Research on consumer perceptions of your organization and competitors
  • Market share by zip code and sub-product
  • Inventory of providers in the market

Service Array

  • Gaps in service vs. competitors and national centers of excellence
  • Services that are differentiators and developmental priorities
  • Services and locations for competitors
  • Capacity/throughput assessment of diagnostics and treatment services
  • Virtual care capabilities

Physician and Provider Team

  • Strength of clinical leadership and champions
  • Composition and number of providers required to meet market share and growth goals
  • Physician skills (diagnostic and treatment) vs. competitors and national leaders
  • Compensation plan and alignment for employed doctors
  • Physician performance data
  • Assess use of Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)

Clinical Assessment

  • Publicly available quality metrics
  • Critical paths and best practice documentation/order sets
  • Assess clinical process variation in treatment patterns
  • Resources to optimize Electronic Medical Record (EMR) to optimize care processes
  • Patient education resources and linkage to EMR
  • Consumer education and screening resources
  • Certification or accreditations for the service

Patient Experience

  • Patient satisfaction with inpatient, outpatient, emergency department, and physician offices
  • Access standards

Infrastructure and Resource Assessment

  • Critical roles and accountabilities defined
  • Organizational structure defined
  • Gaps in staff capabilities/workforce, talent acquisition plan for various roles
  • Resoruces to manage care across the continuum defined

Operational Efficiency Assessment

  • Efficiency/throughput assessment in hospital
  • Efficiency/throughput assessment in physician practices

Payer Relationships

  • Direct contracting opportunities
  • Bundled payments
  • Evaluate capitation opportunities
  • Local commercial payers contracting models

Marketing Review

  • Review service line marketing materials for you and competitors
  • Review online marketing (search terms, SEO, targeting tactics, etc.)

Financial Assessment

  • Define size and dollar value of the market
  • Review profitability and cost
    • By Service Line
    • By Service (from AHD)
    • By Physicians
  • Capital investment
  • Payer mix
  • Assessment of payer rates

Building Strategies and Tactics

Once a comprehensive analysis has been completed, building the strategies and tactics for the service line being evaluated is the last key component for service line level strategic planning in healthcare organizations. Key strategies and tactics that need to be clearly defined include:

  • Define performance metrics
  • Work with steering committee to define strategies
    • Define plan to achieve clinical excellence
    • Define plan to deliver excellent access and patient experience
    • Define marketing/promotion plan
    • Build other plans as necessary
  • Distill each to action plans
  • Build financial plan
  • Define key performance indicators and build monitoring plan

Contact David Miller to learn more about HSG’s Approach to building a service line specific plan while strategic planning in healthcare organizations. 

Examples of Service Line Planning in Healthcare Organizations

You can read an example of strategic planning in healthcare organizations at the service line level specific to a cardiovascular service line below. Outcomes of the cardiovascular service line plan resulted in a 20% improvement in the contribution margin for the service line.

Additionally, 33% of organizations report they utilize external resources for service line strategy development according to a recent survey completed by MGMA. Referring to HSG’s most read content on service line strategy in 2020 can also be accessed for more examples of strategic planning in healthcare in today’s environment.

David W. Miller

Founder and Chairman