Hospital strategic plans must go beyond the status quo

Local groups and organizations often ask me to speak about anything new at the hospital. I am delighted to do it because our hospital is a major resource for our entire community and extremely important for the health and wellness of our population.

In each presentation I usually start by talking about the importance of having a strategic plan and the importance of following it through. In the case of our institution, our strategic plan is particularly relevant to the community that we serve because they helped to create it. By including the community in our strategic planning retreat, we have found that they also "own" our plan.

It is never difficult for me to discuss our strategic planning goals and objectives and why they are important because in our organization the strategic plan is a "living, breathing and critical part of how we do business." I routinely monitor our progress on our goals and then report it to our planning committee and board of directors.


When I report out our goals, I also report on the action plans we are taking to accomplish each one. Our goal number one, of course, is quality improvement. As we all know, quality drives reimbursement, customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, reputation and ultimately, financial performance. I am happy to report to our customers we are constantly striving for improved quality and will never be content with the status quo.

Our second strategic goal is to provide and build our most important resource, our employees. We aim to employ and develop the best possible professional and support staff and then to make them better. Goal number three is to improve market position. We are accomplishing this goal by improving our reach into the community. A good example is the presentations I make to groups about our hospital.

Our fourth strategic goal is to seek an affiliation strategy. Since we are a free-standing hospital, we have a more difficult path in the new healthcare environment of integrated delivery systems, accountable care organizations and clinical integration. I stress to our residents that if our hospital is to survive and thrive in the future then we must be a part of a larger system in which hospitals, doctors, employers, health plans and local government all must work together to accomplish our mutual goals for population health, universal healthcare and high quality. We will not be able to accomplish this on our own. We must have partners that see the opportunities for win-win relationships to take better care of our residents.

Goal number five is physical plant improvement. To better provide for our patients and our community, we need to provide the best possible facilities. This will include both improving our existing physical plant as well as planning for a future replacement hospital to serve our community for decades to come. The sixth goal is scope of services. We are constantly searching for the right types of healthcare services that make sense for our community and in particular under the lens of healthcare reform. Our future is going to be in providing excellent quality outpatient services our community needs that demonstrate a reasonable return on investment. Goal seven is medical staff, in which we discuss our population and hospital needs for physician recruitment and retention.

Our final strategic goal is financial performance. We realize, of course, we will not be able to accomplish any of our strategic goals without first becoming a financially sustainable healthcare organization. So we conclude our strategic plan with our goals and objectives to improve reimbursement, financial performance and ultimately, improve our profitability.

This presentation has never failed to stimulate a very rich discussion with our community residents on strengths and weaknesses of our hospital and where they feel we are on the right track.

I have always found my audiences appreciate being given an insider’s look into where we feel our hospital is headed. So, I encourage you to put your strategic plan to work. It can be much more than an academic exercise of what your hospital or healthcare system intends to accomplish in the future.

Raymond Hino, MPA, FACHE, serves as CEO of California's Bear Valley Community Healthcare District.