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Strategic Planning Initiatives for Healthcare Systems

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   April 11, 2016

While strategic plans require a long view, they need to be monitored and revised as needed.

This article first appeared in the April 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

To thrive, or at least survive, the revolutionary shift away from fee-for-service healthcare to value-based models, health systems, hospitals, and physician practices need to have a strategy.

"It's a very interesting time in healthcare, but the complexity has really ramped up in the last five years," says John DiCola, executive vice president of enterprise strategic development at Englewood, Colorado–based Catholic Health Initiatives, which operates in 19 states with 103 hospitals, and generated operating revenues of $15.2 billion in fiscal 2015.

At the same time, CHI is trying to operate with a five-year "planning horizon," DiCola says, noting "we certainly revise the strategy more than that." In 2011, he says the health system set three primary strategic goals that remain in play: achieving clinical and operational excellence, creating clinically integrated networks with population health capabilities, and unlocking the value associated with the new CINs.

At CHI, there are several key elements to "closing the loop on strategic planning with financial planning," DiCola says, including assessing the capital requirements linked to strategic objectives, allocating capacities, making sure the organization has a multi-year financial plan aligned with its strategic plan, and remaining open to course corrections. "Strategic planning is not set in stone—it's a living thing."

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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