Many senior leaders in the health care space are re-assessing the strategic plan and reallocating the budget. This is not as simple as deferring capital purchases, leveraging GPO products and furloughing staff although those steps are often necessary. Revenue is top of mind. However, immediate returns cannot be the only focus. Creating value for the organization must be a top priority. Further, you must re-evaluate and know your top priorities. Make sure these increase cash flow, create operational efficiencies or position the organization for the future.
As you re-assess the strategic plan, it is prudent to reexamine the foundational elements and consider pace. There are no uniform solutions and in almost every case the foundations are the same – your vision and mission. Your strategic plan solidified this, so if the plan must be adjusted start again with the foundations. Also remember that the assumptions have all gone out the window. Often strategic assumptions are not as well defined and included in written plans as you may see with financial assumptions. The things we depended on when we created the last version of the strategic plan and strategic priorities have changed. For example, we depended on market stability and ‘same store’ type of year and there were not many healthcare leaders who assumed the world would be challenged by a pandemic that stopped domestic and international travel and nearly stopped the U.S. economy. For this reason, one must go back to the assumptions.
Second, the timing for your strategic initiatives, priorities and projects needs to be re-evaluated. Some metrics may remain, and some may be revised, but the timing for each initiative and tactic will likely change. Determine which targets and priorities you should slow, stop, or re-energize. Where should you keep momentum? Often a ‘think big’ or ‘solve for the future’ strategy would not be held down, but these are different times. Take time to consider what we need to be working on based on what we have learned this calendar year.
Finally, put all savings ideas on the table so you can reallocate to position for the future. Can you create efficiencies? Should you cap senior management comp, medical director pay or revise co-management deals? What fair market value and comp questions have arisen since volumes and productivity shifted toward telehealth? Is it possible to use outside resources to manage benefits costs and increase permanent staff later? Should your organization prep for surge in a different way? Strategy is about adjusting. Adjust your thinking and use what you have learned. If your administrative team members have engaged despite a work-from-home requirement, does this change how you optimize office space? Could you reach workplace happiness goals while reducing commute times and saving some premium office space? If your patients have adapted well to telehealth, begin to think about capital investments and real estate management.
There is no doubt that budgets are tight. Reframe the economic concerns by treating them as an opportunity to reassess top priorities, reexamine assumptions and competition, and position for future growth. Think about whether an outside resource would remove bias and create a freedom to reassess all budgets, strategic priorities and savings ideas. How can we help?