The importance of an organization’s strategy execution cannot be stressed enough, however, it is often overlooked (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2017). The strategy itself is important because that gives employees direction and a plan to follow. However, “successful organizations know that execution is much more important than the plan” (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2017, p.120). As a manager, I have a responsibility to lead the staff in order to effectively carry out the plan. I believe one way to ensure the plan gets executed is to hold your staff accountable and follow up with the assignments. I do not believe that an effective manager, micro-manages his or her staff. Instead, I believe, and know from experience, that employees work harder to complete a task when the manager is checking their progress and holding them accountable for what they have or have not completed. Another way to ensure execution is to physically show employees how to perform a task correctly. Sometimes, employees do not follow a plan or put off doing a task because they simply do not know how. Managers, healthcare or not, are responsible for “identifying ways to support the organization’s strategy and for ensuring that their subordinates have the knowledge and understanding to do the same” (Buchbinder& Shanks, 2017, p. 122). Some of my best managers were present to answer questions and were humble enough to demonstrate how it is supposed to be done.
Strategic planning is a dynamic and not a linear process because planning itself has to adjust for the change. Healthcare strategic planning has to be able to develop and advance in order to keep up with the changes in the world. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis provides a foundation for development (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2017). SWOT analysis is important in two ways. First, provides information about an organization’s current interaction within the market; secondly, the analysis identifies opportunities and threats to the organization (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2017). The first part of the analysis is focused on the internal aspects of an organization, while the potential opportunities and threats are focused on the environment around the organization. “If used correctly, SWOT analyses can offer policymakers a sound basis for strategy development and formulation” (Van Durme et al., 2014, p. 4). If the analysis is used appropriately, then healthcare organizations will be able to see what areas they can maintain, improve, or change altogether. For example, a SWOT analysis could show that a hospital’s firewall was not configured properly and therefore is open to vulnerabilities. This type of vulnerability has the potential to be detrimental because it is then possible for patient information to be leaked or for hackers could shut down the hospital (Dyer, 2016). While this exact scenario may not be too common, hospitals are a big target for hackers because they hold so much information (my fiancé works in information security and IT). The SWOT analysis is extremely beneficial in this case because it allows the hospital to make changes and strengthen its defense before a break-in happens.
Strategic planning in healthcare compared to other organizations is similar in a broad sense. However, the application may be different as well as the importance of the execution. For example, staffing is important for all organizations. However, the consequences could be life-threatening if a hospital is understaffed, compared to if a retail store is understaffed.
Yes, quality care initiatives can be linked to the strategic planning process. When strategically planning, there is a goal in mind and the plan is created as a way to reach that goal. “The various Quality Initiatives touch every aspect of the healthcare system. Some initiatives focus on publicly reporting quality measures for nursing homes, home health agencies, hospitals, and kidney dialysis facilities” (Quality Initiatives – General Information – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services”, 2019). The focus of each initiative determines the plan used to achieve it. A simple example of this idea would be graduating school. If my goal is to graduate then part of my plan is to work hard and do well on my assignments; my plan would not include failing assignments and not turning in work because that will not allow me to reach my goal.
One of my favorite verses/detail is found in Exodus 13. Right after Pharaoh let the Israelites go and they are wandering in the desert. It says:
[G]od did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.
We strategically plan our lives. But we have to remember that God has His own plan and purpose, and He also knows the outcome. We may plan every detail out and think we know what way is best. However, even though there was a shorter way, God knew that the Israelites would get discouraged and give up. We rarely get to know or understand what God is protecting us from, we just see what we weren’t given. This verse reminds me to “travel the desert road” and trust God’s strategic plan instead.
Buchbinder, S. B., & Shanks, N. H. (2017). Introduction to health care management. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Dyer, O. (2016). Hackers Demand Ransom to Release Encrypted Us Medical Records. BMJ, 353, doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i1876
New International Version
Quality Initiatives – General Information – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2019). Retrieved 7 November 2019.
Van Durme, T., Macq, J., Anthierens, S., Symons, L., Schmitz, O., Paulus, D., Remmen, R. (2014). Stakeholders’ perception on the organization of chronic care: a SWOT analysis to draft avenues for health care reforms.BMC Health Services Research,14(1), 1-17
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In what ways can you, as a manager, contribute to the management and execution of your organization’s strategy? How is strategic planning a dynamic versus linear process, and why?
Next, summarize the purpose of the SWOT analysis and how it is best used in the healthcare planning process. Are there any differences related to strategic planning in healthcare versus planning in another organization? Can the quality of care initiatives be linked to the strategic planning process? If so, how?
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