Surgery stays on track with strategic plan

Planning process covers critical points

At Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, there is a standard eight-step process for writing strategic plans.

It includes coming up with a mission, vision, and values; an internal and external analysis; setting goals and objectives; creating an action plan; and performance metrics to measure the plan, explains Daniel Like, MHA, chief operating officer of ambulatory services at Ohio State. (See order of steps for strategic planning process, below.)

Therefore, when a strategic plan was put in place for a hospital-based ambulatory surgery center (ASC) several years ago, this content was followed by the planning committee that included a facilitator from the planning department, surgical leadership, the chief medical officer, key health system hospital administrators, and representatives from nursing and marketing.

"We hired an external consultant to look at our plan for opportunities for improvement," says Like.

During the initial planning, the team determined that the surgery center should be diverse because reimbursement for a particular service line could change and a single specialty surgery center could be financially risky. The service lines at the medical center includes a balance of ophthalmology; ear, nose and throat (ENT); plastic surgery; and hand surgery.

"As reimbursement changes across those service lines, we are balanced in our approach," says Like.

Keep plan up-to-date

Strategic plans are not documents that can be tucked away in a file and forgotten. They must be monitored and updated. (To learn what accreditation agencies require in regard to strategic plans, see article in Same-Day Surgery Accreditation Update supplement included in this issue of Same-Day Surgery.)

To stay abreast of the reimbursement changes being considered by legislators, stay connected to state and national associations, experts advise. Subsequently, use the information to plan ahead. At Ohio State Medical Center, there is a reimbursement specialist that helps departments project certain scenarios that might result with reimbursement changes and develop ways to adapt to the changes.

To forecast surgery volume, look at how many physicians are in each service; how many surgeries they can complete based on the number of surgical days in a particular year; the demographics of your service area; and the market, Like says. Some states collect data on hospital outpatient surgery and ASC procedures that can be used. Also helpful is membership in an organization that has a significant number of forecasting tools, such as the Health Care Advisory Board, with headquarters in Washington, DC.

Before a strategic plan is put in place at Ohio State, performance indicators are identified and then tracked. Twice a year, scorecards based on the core metrics are reviewed. However, a significant amount of data that is easy to track is reviewed on a monthly basis such as case volumes by service, financials, turnover times between cases, and patient satisfaction scores. Problems are swiftly identified.

"We have a formal presentation of our performance indicators twice a year, but track them more frequently," explains Like.

Medical center has eight-step process

The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus has an eight-step strategic planning process that includes the following:

• Strategy formulation.

1. Identify mission, vision and values.

2. Perform external competition and market analysis.

3. Perform internal analysis of resources and capabilities.

• Strategy translation.

4. Identify goals and objectives.

5. Identify priorities based on goals.

• Strategy execution.

6. Develop action plans.

• Monitor and review.

7. Monitor strategic indicators, and conduct performance tracking.

8. Perform annual review of assumptions, trends, and goals.