The healthcare industry is transforming at a rapid rate, placing increased pressure on practices. Key factors driving these changes include health reforms, the implementation of the Health Care Homes model and digital health system, the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review and the national roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These changes are also coupled with the evolving epidemic of chronic diseases and heightened patient expectations.
Adapting during these challenging times and having a solid business strategy in place is essential to ensure your practice not only survives, but thrives. Now is the ideal time to undertake a more in-depth review of your business and plan for the longer-term.
In our experience, high performing practices are embracing the opportunities that these changes create. They think strategically, plan for success and execute their plans efficiently and effectively. Importantly, they regularly take a step back from the day-to-day busyness of running a practice to invest time in strategic planning to grow the practice.
It’s worth noting that the RACGP’s Standards for General Practice (5th edition) Criterion C3.1 – Business operations systems requires practices to demonstrate strategic thinking and business planning. This recognition by the profession to incorporate planning as an accreditation indicator endorses the importance of practices embedding strategic planning into their business practices.
Aligning your business vision and goals through the strategic planning process will ensure your daily operations all work towards achieving sustained success. The benefits of strategic planning include:
Drafting a strategic plan involves several steps however in its simplest form it essentially involves asking these key questions: Where are we now?Where do we want to be in the future? and How are we going to get there?
The steps below provide a structure for practices to work through in drafting their strategic plans:
The best approach for undertaking this planning process is for your practice leaders to set aside a day. We recommend using a neutral venue away from the practice setting and engaging an external facilitator to manage the process. The facilitator should ask a series of questions that enable the group to come to a collective understanding of where the practice is heading and how to get there.
Your strategic plan is one of the most important tools in your business tool kit. Investing time to plan prepares your practice for success and can enable your business to weather the impact of the challenges created as the healthcare environment continues to evolve.
By: Danny Haydon, immediate Past President and a non-executive Director, the Australian Association of Practice Management