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4 Ways to Refocus Your Strategic Planning

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, May 6, 2011

Also, like other systems, Geisinger is dealing with retirements as well as the new entrants into that part of the workforce who have different (read, less frenetic) perspectives on professional life and personal life balance. All this is a fancy way of saying that today's physicians don't want to be tied to their offices for 60-70 hours a week.

  1. Innovation: In this case, the need for innovation stretches to customer service. "If we want to try to keep the care close to home for the patient, how do we work with our community partners, those physicians that are non-Geisinger and community hospitals that are non-Geisinger?" asks Paul, rhetorically. She says her guiding principle is keeping in mind what's best for the patient.

    In every part of Geisinger's service area, there are widely different types of care that need to be given for such a wide range of population, she says.

    "You can have urgent care centers, community practice sites, acute care, e-visits, and some combination of telehealth, and that's where our group is working with rest of our institution," she says. "What are our strengths in this location? What should it look like? Does it have enough primary care? Does it have enough of a variety of specialists? This kind of planning requires filling in gaps.

    "What care is not being delivered that might benefit the patient?" she says. "This is not just about shifting settings."
  2. Legacy: This concept might be the most difficult to grasp, as it is the most long-term in nature, says Charles.

    "The approach we use as a governing principle is what's in the best interest of the patient and then try to tailor care delivery in way that gets right resources to the patient in best way," he says.

    At Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, it makes sense to focus on the highly complex procedures, says Paul. Less complex procedures might make sense for community hospitals or urgent care sites that may or may not have any ownership structure with Geisinger. In the end, say Geisinger's strategic planners, their goal is to support the legacy of the institution as being one focused on the quality of care received by its service area rather than as a big, dominant medical center that simply seeks the most profitable services and leaves scraps for competitors.

So what about results? In the past year alone, Geisinger has recruited more than 120 physicians, and has recently developed the following key programs:

·        Brain tumor institute

·        Epilepsy monitoring unit (linked to its nationally known program for surgical treatment for intractable epilepsy)

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