IssueOct 21Opinion

Strategic planning in healthcare

Strategy is a commodity but planning and execution is an art. Rajgopal,Co-founder & CEO, KITES Senior Care reveals more

I like the slogan Strategy is a commodity but planning and execution is an art


The vision of an organisation defines the goal and purpose for which they exist; strategy defines how we go about achieving this goal both in the near term and longer-term. Formulating a sound strategy and setting long term goals is very important to any organisation and you will have experts to help you with this. However, if these goals are to be achieved, executing various steps as planned is very critical.

Spend adequate time in planning
Healthcare is a complex environment with many moving pieces. To start with, every organisation needs to be aware of their SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). While most organisations spend time defining their strategy, not much importance is devoted to what actions will need to be taken to achieve these goals. Breaking down the various processes needed to achieve the goals and the influence of people and technology of these processes need to be evaluated in detail. Allocation of resources is a key part of this process. It is important to reference all stakeholders in this process most importantly keeping the patient/client in mind. If you are a new organisation, it may be worthwhile to appoint a consultant to guide you through this process. Else your internal key members, with their rich experience, will be able to support the planning process.

Balancing the need of healthcare professionals and patients
Patients and Healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, paramedics etc) are key stakeholders in the healthcare delivery system. Healthcare delivery is still an intense industry. The strategic
planning process has to accommodate the needs of these stakeholders and that is where the business leader needs to take a balanced view in terms of resource allocation and technology implementation.

Strategic planning and quality function
Quality function within an organisation plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the organisation stays on course with their plan, to that extent, every strategic plan once approved by the board shall be ingrained into the quality processes wherever applicable. Through this, constant training of personnel can be undertaken which will improve the outcomes which can be monitored through the review mechanisms.

Of course, any strategic plan needs to have flexibility

As we move towards the goals of the organisation by implementing the strategic plan, we will encounter situations wherein we may have to rethink the agreed processes. Medical Technology is changing at a fast pace and is an important aspect that will influence the resource allocation and execution process. The pandemic has also taught us how we need to be ready to relook at our strategies in a short time which will eventually lead us to replan. So, any plan needs to have the ability to be flexible to accommodate such external changes. There needs to be openness to accept these changes.

Strategic planning is beneficial

A well construed and executed strategic plan has many benefits. Firstly, there is clarity amongst all stakeholders of the plans and decisions. It increases the operational efficiency wherein there
is clarity of action and allocation of resources and budgets is easier. This helps to achieve the business finance goals as well wherein the organisation sees the benefits in the form of increased doctor and patient satisfaction, reduced cost and eventually increased profitability.


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