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02/12/2012

Term Paper - Strategic Planning In Health Care Organizations


Strategic Planning in Health Care Organizations

Introduction

Health care organizations are facing many challenges due to changes in health care systems. The financial expenditures and in education has grown complexities in research, partnerships and technological aspects. The health care organizations are more focus on interaction, collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge. Through this focus, the health care organizations gained the techniques in managing the knowledge to create and sustain positive outcomes.

In many parts of the world, the need for an effective strategic approach is in increasing demand and the application of the strategic planning that will suit to the system is still finding its way to be recognized. There are many issues revolves around the health care. Most of them are about the money and accessibility. The right implementation and process of the strategic planning should be the first purpose of the health care organizations, aside from acknowledging prevention and cure as part of better health and well-being.

What is important is to apply all the knowledge form the past attempts in applying the strategic planning in every part of an organization. The knowledge that every health care professional gained from their study and treatment experience is a solid basis for adopting the kind of method and together, they will promote the health care, give the satisfactorily needs of the patients, able to serve with equality and efficient, yet cost-effective.

Background

For over the years, health care and technology has evolved according to the changing generation but the treatments are still the same. The conditions of the health care organizations, not only in the U.S., have become more turbulent and uncertain. The appeal of strategic planning is already weak and tends to lose its popularity (Begun and Heatwole, 1999).

The knowledge management of an organization is an essential and recognized tool in emerging health care system. Organizations’ seeks to understand the human health and processing which results on deploying the knowledge management (Sharma, Wickramasinghe, and, Gupta, 2005).

As part of strategic planning in health care organizations, the knowledge-sharing and information seeking welcomes the attitude and competency in processing the health outcomes of a patient. The knowledge management utilizes and deeply explore the objectives in health care, and as part of the integral asset in health care organizations such as hospitals, knowledge can be defined specifically in attempting to resolve health problems (Sharma, Wickramasinghe, and, Gupta, 2005). With respect to the patient, medical needs or attention, and collaboration, the knowledge in health care can be operated with technology base and recognize a routine in managing health. 

Knowledge is the foundation of discoveries and strategies in which many organizations acquire knowledge to use them dynamically. From the leader down to the staff or health care providers, the knowledge has been passed and processed to create their own conclusion toward the health case of one patient. Managing and processing the appropriate knowledge is a technique where people plays their important role in promoting health, therefore, health care will be more successful when there is an intensive application of knowledge.

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality gave three common goals of health care organizations to create such strategic planning. First is to support improvements in health outcomes. Health care organizations or hospitals are creating paths to understand and improve decision-making which can provide positive health outcomes. Second is to strengthen the quality measurement and improvement. With the use of reliable measures and valid process, the outcomes of care can be anticipated as well as the causation and preventive approach in health care. Through eliminating of errors, the incorporated program and efforts toward health can be implemented. And the third common goal is to identify essential strategies to improve access, foster appropriate use of health care practices, and reduce unnecessary expenditures. This goal is focus in delivering the health care with proper approach and right handling of finances to promote cost-effective use of health care resources (Johnson, 2003). These goals are simple to read but difficult to comprehend since there are no applicable standards to follow and no appropriate strategy to accomplish them. 

Many health care organizations had developed strategic planning to coordinate with their process in achieving their goal. Many organizations took or adopted different approaches and yet, they forgotten the importance of knowledge as a simple step in organizing the health care setting. This appropriate knowledge will dramatically help many hospitals and other health care providers to understand the value of their profession and the importance of their practice (Sharma, Wickramasinghe, and, Gupta, 2005).

An effective strategy should act as a force to mobilize the organization and everyone who are under it and create discipline in pursuit of a goal. Strategies can broad the organizations perspective, motivate the individuals and establish communication (Begun and Heatwole, 1999). The continuous assessing of the organization’s mission, vision, and strategies can help facilitate the health care’s dynamic environment. With the recognition of different uncertainties, the strategic planning will became applicable no matter what the situation is.

Methodology

A proposed method emerged in the world of health care organizations. Due to the increasing demand for health which all suggests the needs for a sound strategy, including the strategic planning and resource allocation models, within the health care organizations.

A strategy in allocating the resource gives way to the birth of the Importance-Performance-Awareness (IPA) that is applied in aiding decisions for hospital managers. The strategy will provide information to the health organization which is currently facing a turbulent environment. The IPA is a mapping method that assists the strategic management resource allocation tasks of managers in a broad array of internal or/and external health care environment by efficiently utilizing the scarce resources and valuable organizational capabilities (Graf, Hemmasi, and Strong, 1996).

With the help of questionnaires designed to measure (a) the extent to which residents of the communities being served were aware of the medical service offered by the health care organization or hospital, (b) the importance the individuals attached in having each of the services available within the community, and (c) the customer satisfaction with the hospital performance in delivering of each of the service offerings, which is entirely based on their personal experience or by simply hearing it from others. With these three objectives of analysis, the manager or health care leaders can identify their strength and weakness in promoting their service and the area that needs improvement.

The Importance-Performance-Awareness Analysis

The IPA suggests that the majority of the services offered in various health care organizations are highly important and satisfactory of the patients. And with this evidence the examination of the importance, performance, and awareness is made to assess the health organization’s strategic strengths and weaknesses and improving the competitive position. After identifying the effectiveness of the organization’s current position, the application of different strategies can be suggested to improve or maintain the competitiveness and performance. Accordingly, this measurement also provides focus which was divided into two, the internal focus and external focus of the organization towards health. With the appropriate organizational resources and managerial attention, the focus cannot be easily diverted in the areas where there is a little value within the organization or the patient.

The first focus suggests the internal aspect of the organization is duly called Importance-Performance Analysis. The services may come form the intensive-care nursing, surgical nursing, cardiology, laboratory services, mammography, and respiratory therapy. It also includes the outpatient services such as cardiac rehabilitation, radiology, and mammography that fell in the out-patient category. The areas of nursing services are also the strategic strength of a hospital. When the hospital, as a health care organization and provider, done an impressive job – the high quality of service will emerged and be very evident. In other words, the performance of health care providers should maintain or improve depending on to what the result maybe (Graf, Hemmasi, and Strong, 1996). This mapping of performance will drive the entire organization in success because of the established trust within the health community toward the patients.

The second focus which is the external aspect suggests about the services offered of the organization which is highly associated with the customers’ awareness, therefore, it is called Importance-Awareness Analysis. This also includes the related in acquiring potential clients through the organization’s marketing and promotional activities, which gives emphasis on the services they provide. The importance of the health service is determined based on the result. Usually, the importance is based on how important for the community in availing the services the hospitals offered. On the other hand, the performance is based on the rating of each individual toward the different service providers. The results will reflect on the entire performance of the health care providers in attending the needs of the patients. It can be also perceived that the ratings may come from an ordinary individual and his judgment is according of his observation. And the awareness is about the people’s idea or knowledge about the existence of the hospital’s service. The awareness is a strategy where the entire health providers can introduce the other services they offer within the community.

Apparently, there are only few hospitals that use strategic planning and conducting analysis that recognize the need the budget and resource allocation that should be included in their current strategic planning.

Literature Review

The flexibility of the IPA can be utilized in conducting analysis about the organizations present effectiveness on the community. Examining the current data and performance, with its impact on different communities will be added to the strategic puzzle in pursuance to the strategic planning process. This methodology will permit the health care organization’s management to tailor prospective changes to the specific needs of distinct customers that needs professional attention and health benefits.

In addition, applying the IPA model will minimize the waste in scarce resources. The failure to do incorporating the allocation process may result from the revenue enhancement and market penetration. The idea of incorporating the resources will conserve the resources; eliminate duplication of services and equipment within departments that will allow the effective cost control. Through mapping the individual’s performance toward their patient will create a strong bond between the health provider and the patient.

Organizations or hospitals can improve the efficiency of operating and their financial performance through the use of interactive planning. But in contrary, the health care providers or administrators who do not understand the process of an effective interactive planning are the one who frequently make poor decisions. The identified basis of their decisions is solely beyond their expertise which deals with the intuition or feeling.

Health care organizations that began to provide the specific strategic planning processes and decisions to improve the efficiency of their services and performance is always subject for critical analysis and never-ending scrutiny as the other organizations’ pursuance to craft their own version of strategic planning. The utilization of the strategic approach will lead the entire organization to experience the benefits associated with providing health care, promotion, innovation, and communication. The effectiveness of their strategy will reflect entirely on the organization, from top to bottom, in which everyone is entitled to contribute more of their skills and expertise.

The application of knowledge management has already proved its essence in different organization like in business sector by transforming it into a managerial approach and successfully formulates corporate knowledge. In this scenario, the healthcare organization must set their foot in storing knowledge and crafting potential ideas and enhancing their skills for the purpose of better health. Knowledge is a key process in ensuring information with high quality standards, especially when the health is promoted within the organization. The gathered knowledge will definitely improve research management and can strengthen dissemination practice of the health care organizations to deliver the quality of health care (Johnson, 2003).

With the gathered essential information, computers, communication expertise, and networking system, the application of knowledge as part of the health care organization’s routine will make a great impact as well as improvement in their nature of work.

As the IPA or Importance Performance Analysis has been established within the health care organization, the health care providers must anticipate the other development to increase the efficiency of the services. At first, the proposal of making patient’s records electronically that will be more appropriate to the technology revolution (Parente, 2008 and Sharma, Wickramasinghe, and, Gupta, 2005). It is better in accessing, updating, and processing than the bulky papers.

Aligning the use of standardized language to use such as terminologies will establish a strong communication, both within the domestic and international domain (Sharma, Wickramasinghe, and, Gupta, 2005). Part of the communication is establishing the relationship between the health provider and patient to promote the effectiveness of health through facilitating the proper handling of the disease or health problem of an individual (Allhoff, et al., 2006). The standardized use of language is applicable in an organization where there is cultural diversity environment.

The push to use the methods and tools to make the transfer of information faster is viable through the use of Internet service (Neuberger, Payne, and Wakefield, 2001). This can lead to understand the health case of the patient, to communicate with other health care professionals, or for review of the health problems which is another creative approach in utilizing the knowledge management.

Technology and Health Care

Strategic planning may is another step in reducing costs and providing health information (Graf, Hemmasi, and Strong, 1996). One of the available and popular steps is the adoption of technology that’s gives advantage on the business community. The idea of technology in health care creates impact in different areas of health care and the system. Many organizations viewed the electronic-based health records of the patient will give another innovation its way to the health care organizations.

Electronic health records are expected to facilitate more information that will serve as a basis in making decision. This is the action in applying the technological power over the health care system since its growth and importance in different industry (Garrett, 2007). Another advantage is to organize the health information of the patient even though there are different health providers availing their service. Many researcher as well as health care organization viewed this strategy to improve coordination, reduce costs, eliminates duplication of information and giving the consumer the right for accessibility (AHCA and GHIIAD, 2006).  

However, organizations already recognized the existence challenging in promoting the technology and its application to the health care system. Part of the challenge is the continuous development, change and improvement that can only lead to lack of precision and accessibility in health care application (Mahmound and Rice, 1998). It can be costly, but the concern is around the privacy of the individuals if the accessibility is made too easy (Parente, 2008). 

Various health care professionals turn to look over the Internet to share their knowledge or, in contrast acquire information. Through the Internet, people can communicate and viewed medical information as a reliable source. This kind of technology can bridge the gaps in promoting health and establish a better communication between the medical professional and the patient even if they are miles away.  The National Research Council (2000) quoted that through supports from financial and administrative transactions, public surveillance, professional education, and biomedical research, the Internet can streamline the administrative over head associated with health care, improve the health of the nation’s population, better train health care providers, and lead the new insights into the nature of disease. The Internet can provide another advantage in terms of promoting the health knowledge.

Many health care organizations provide information via Internet but if their advocacy is promoting other campaigns than the health and wellness, and then we can say that the health site is plagued by advertising. With advertising, the facts can be distorted to emphasize their agenda. Likely, the promotion of one organization about their state-of-the-art facilities is not about promoting health since they emphasize their facilities. The foundation of better health is not only through facilities, although they are also necessary, but to the application of the technologies together with the knowledge and experience-based judgment of the health providers. Therefore, the web sites should be first validating their integrity before accessing. Every one should know that in Internet, the individual has a freedom of expression that might be harmful to the individual viewing the site, especially when it is for health care service. Individuals, medical practitioners, students, and even a person who is under medication have the power over the Internet. There is much information scattered from various website. Its purpose is to provide fast accessibility (Rogerson and Fairweather, 2001).

Providing information through Internet and useful in overcoming the distance, promoting health, educating, and developing the health care systems. Various studies of cases are also available through the net like providing information about the symptoms and their treatment options, and the review on diseases and how to prevent them from attacking (Neuberger, Payne, and Wakefield, 2001). But technology is always a technology. There are instances that the transmission of details can be interrupted; also there is a possibility that the information is not accurate or worse all the cited information is not at all true.

Another part of the health care development and strategy is done through the evidence-based practice or EBP for the professionals. The EBP is specifically a type of service improvement that became popular. It is the process where the service relied on the experimental research in human service practices (Tanenbaum, 2005). The main concept of the evidence-based practice is mainly involved the series of inquiry. It is done through questioning, observing, and recording in which professionals weighs their judgment through the use of current best evidence especially in making decisions. The gathered knowledge from an individual is incorporated to apply in the policymaking and advocacy (Chronister, et al., 2008).

All the suggestion for development is applicable in the IPA method, since all are ideal in promoting and providing health. The technology, standardization of language, providing information through Internet, and the use of practice are not yet applied to the IPA method. But all of their ideas are to create a quality service and positive outcomes, in which accordingly the IPA is the measurement of the quality provided services.

Discussion and Recommendation

Health care organizations that provide strategies are also promoting awareness and medical efficacy. The development of the strategic approach is rapid and the need for a thorough result exceeds. Strategic planning in health care organizations suggests providing satisfaction of the customers by exceeding their service expectations (Graf, Hemmasi, and Strong, 1996).

The challenge in health care organization is also part of the challenge faced by the health care system that can affect the present and the future health care innovation and strategic planning (Schiff, 2007). It is never been easy for the health care organizations to provide a quality service, and it will never become easy not unless all the members of the organization will make their effort in establishing the procedure that will create an applicable service quality. Therefore, a universal and unified strategy in health care should be administered, free of access, equitable, responsive, rewarding quality, accountable and cost-effective (Rudiger, 2009).

With the customer health care needs and expectation, the health care organizations starts to establish their competitive advantage into safety, as well as providing the available resources. But through the changing environment, health care organizations are more on the control and monitoring such changes especially when it will cause a great impact on their strategic planning.

Technologies and traditional procedures is valued in different types of industry, it is more valued in the health care organizations. It is because technology can provide the fast accessibility and enable to store big chunks of information. Meanwhile, the traditional procedures such as questioning, observing, and reporting is still valued in the medical process. The combination of the two processes will be the central foundation of the health care organization’s strategic planning. The method used is created to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care organizations adopted process.  

Customer health care needs and expectations are always part of the competitive advantage. Also, the resources and its availability are part of the advantage but is always subject for change specifically the technologies. The analysis that been conducted should be done annually to maintain the performance and awareness level of the clients. It recommends continuing the process and improving some aspect in which there is a weak point of knowledge application.

Make it sure that the important setting is not missing when the health care organization decided to adopt a strategic approach. It is important that the customers are attached to the products or service and their attributes and the level of satisfaction consumers expressed with the organization’s performance in meeting their expectation or needs. The application of the strategic approach or planning is always in the aim of assessing the importance employees associated with various aspects of their jobs and outcomes. Another is identifying the areas in which the development within the organization intervention would be applicable and somewhat useful. And helping the management in avoiding ineffective personnel policy changes in areas where there are efforts that have a little benefit.

Part of every organization is finding the strengths and weaknesses, which gives to their greater understanding of the specific types of change activities which can improve the performance within the organization, and giving the clearer definition of the organizational resource and focus of the managerial attention.

Summary Questions

  1. What is the importance of health care in the community?
  2. Identify the proposed interventions in establishing a strategic planning for health care organizations.
  3. What is the mainstream in creating the strategic planning fit for the entire health care organization?
  4. Why there is an importance in satisfying the customers’ needs and further exceeding their expectations toward the services offered?
  5. What are the challenges that an organization should meet when they are striving for a strategic planning? And what do you think is the needed action for these challenges?
  6. Give at least three advantages and disadvantages in using the technology in the health care organization and practices.
  7. Is the use of evidence-based practice is still applicable when there is an available technology?
  8. What is the main implication of the technology in updating, processing, sharing, and recording the patient’s health records?
  9. There are many available resources where everyone can access the information about the healthcare. How can you identify that the website is reliable and the information is not harmful or distorted?
  10. Based in your own knowledge, what is the right action in establishing the appropriate strategic planning?

References:

AHCA and GHIIAD (2006). Strategic Plan for the Adoption and Use of Electronic Health Records. Agency for Health Care Administration and the Governor’s Health Information Infrastructure Advisory Board. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/dhit/Board/StrategicPlanFinalDraft011006.pdf

Allhoff, F., et al., (2006). Improving Communication - Improving Care. An Ethical Force Program, American Medical Association. Accessed 16 Nov 2009, from http://www.umaryland.edu/healthsecurity/mtf_conference/Documents/Additional%20Reading/Session%202/AMA%20-%20Improving%20Communication%20-%20Improving%20Care.pdf

Begun, J., & Heatwole, K., (1999). Strategic Cycling: Shaking Complacency in Healthcare Strategic Planning. Journal of Health Care Management, Vol. 44, No. 5. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.ache.org/pubs/jhm445.cfm

Chronister, J., et al., (2008). The Evidence-Based Practice Movement in Healthcare: Implications for Rehabilitation. The Journal of Rehabilitation, Vol. 74, No. 2. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from www.questia.com

Garrett, J. (Pub), (2007). Healthcare Directory. Community Impact Newspaper. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.impactnews.com/pdfs/guides/Healthcare2007.pdf.

Graf, L., Hemmasi, M., & Strong, K., (1996). Strategic Analysis for Resource Allocation Decisions in Health Care Organizations. Journal of Managerial Issues, Vol. 8, No. 1. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from www.questia.com

Johnson, H., (2003). Agency for Health Care Research and Quality: Performance Plans and Report. Department of Human Services. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from www.os.dhhs.gov/budget/03gpra/ahrq.doc

Mahmound, E., & Rice, G., (1998). Information Systems Technology and Healthcare quality Improvement. Review of Business, Vol. 19, No. 3. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from www.questia.com

Neuberger, N., Payne, M., & Wakefield, M., (2001). Rural Health Care and the Internet: Issues and Opportunities for Using Interactive Communications to Improve Rural Health Care Services. Health Tech Strategies. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www2.gmu.edu/centers/chpre/ruralhealth/briefspublications/papers/internet_and_ruralhealth.pdf

Parente, S., (2008). Healthcare IT and Financing’s Next Frontier: The Potential of Medical Banking. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.nabe.com/rt/health/parenteFeb-2008.pdf

Rogerson, S., & Fairweather, B., (2001). Healthcare Websites. ETHIcol IMIS Journal, Vol. 11, No. 5. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.ccsr.cse.dmu.ac.uk/resources/general/ethicol/Ecv11no5.pdf

Rudiger, A., (2009). Ten health Care Financing Principles to Ensure Universality, Equity, and Accountability. Human Right to Health Program. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.nesri.org/Human_Rights_Principles_for_Financing_Health_Care.pdf

Schiff, G., (2007). U.S. Health Care Insurance: Current Status and Future Vision. Call for Papers, Journal of Medical Care, Vol. 45, No. 9. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.soa.org/files/pdf/hlth-medical-care.pdf

Sharma, S., Wickramasinghe, N., & Gupta, J., (2005). Knowledge Management in Healthcare. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.idea-group.com/downloads/excerpts/01Wickramasinghe.pdf

Tanenbaum, S., (2005). Evidence-Based Practice: What Does it Mean for Aging? American Society on Aging. Accessed 24 Nov 2009, from http://www.asaging.org/at/at-266/AT-266-Tanenbaum.pdf

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