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    The Medical Group Management Association’s most recent MGMA Stat poll asked healthcare leaders: Do you provide updates to staff on your organization’s strategic plan? The majority (69%) answered “yes,” while 28% responded “no” and the remaining 3% said they were “unsure.”
    Respondents who answered “yes” were then asked how often these updates are provided. More than a third (39%) said their organization provides strategic plan updates quarterly, 22% said monthly, 22% annually, 4% weekly and the remaining 13% answered “other.” When asked to elaborate on “other”, healthcare leaders responded:

    • “As needed”
    • “Bi-annually”
    • “When changes to the organization’s strategic plan are made”

    This poll was conducted on April 23, 2019, with 1,224 applicable responses.

    Today, medical practices face many challenges, all of which require providers and administrators to work together to provide the best patient care possible while remaining compliant with changing regulations. Building a strategic plan and vision is paramount to ensuring organizational success.
    While there is no standard methodology for developing a strategic plan, George B. Moseley III, MBA, JD, lecturer, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that modestly sized medical groups should take the following steps when developing a strategic plan:

    1. Assess resources and competencies by identifying the organization’s greatest strengths and weaknesses.

    2. Consider external factors such as the market (both patients and payers), leading competitors, law and politics, area demographics, new technologies and economic trends.

    3. With the help of all owners and employees, describe a vision for the group. Look ahead at least five years. Once an agreed-upon vision is formulated, do not change it without good reason.

    4. Brainstorm steps the group must take to achieve that vision and translate them into four to five strategic objectives with these parameters:

    • Define success in measurable terms
    • Allocate necessary resources
    • Set deadlines for progress and completion
    • Assign a person primarily responsible for each objective 

    5. Systematically implement the strategic plan. Follow a rigorous process with deadlines, benchmarks and delegated responsibilities. Regularly monitor the progress and provide frequent updates to management. Be prepared to adjust the implementation schedule and strategies.

    6. Establish an annual review of the strategic plan. Drop strategies that have been completed or are no longer relevant. Modify continuing strategies by expanding or reducing them by allocating more or fewer resources. When appropriate, approve new strategies. Next, adopt an annual operating plan that reflects any changes in the strategic plan. Finally, prepare a one-year financial budget to support the operating plan.

    “The plan itself must come from the hearts of the group members,” says Moseley. “There is no one-size-fits-all plan.” A good strategic plan must be customized for your group and communicated to ensure everyone is held accountable and understands where the organization is going.

    As Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, suggests: “The vision is the destination, while the strategic plan is the roadmap. An organization should understand that a strategic plan is more than a simple document to be written and filed away for reference. It’s ongoing — a living, breathing process.” 

    Additional resources


    Our ability at MGMA to provide great resources, education and advocacy depends on a strong feedback loop with healthcare leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit Polls will be sent to your phone via text message.

    Need professional assistance understanding your options for contracting? MGMA Consulting can help identify actionable solutions tailored for your organization.

    Stefan v. Jarmusz
    Project Analyst 
    MGMA Research 

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