Healthcare Strategic Management and Planning
Strategic planning assists an organization in achieving its mission and achievement of its objectives/goals. One method of assessment is a SWOT analysis that can assist in the development of goals/objectives.
For this week you are asked to complete a SWOT analysis on the department/unit where you work. Establish goals/objectives (a minimum of three goals/objectives for each area, strengths, weaknesses, threats, opportunities than you believe are SMART) that will improve patient outcomes, staff retention, and be consistent with the goals/objectives established by your organization. If you are not currently working, please reach out to your instructor for additional guidance on this assignment.
The Planning Process: SWOT Analysis Utilizing a SWOT analysis of your department/unit/organization is a valuable exercise in identifying SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound) goals/objectives that contribute to decision making. A SWOT analysis can improve patient care, outcomes, staff and staffing, use of resources and technology, and provides a proactive approach for future planning.
Why is planning so important? First, it is a process that is important in creating and maintaining the organizations/department/units vision for the future. Secondly, it provides an opportunity to develop and assess goal achievement. The third reason is that strategic planning is a means to use resources effectively in patient care.
By completing a SWOT analysis you will gain perspectives that otherwise may not recognize. It should be a team effort. A SWOT analysis will allow you to explore new possibilities and find your solutions to current or future problems. In addition, it will provide organized information so you can make decisions and identify where change is needed. It may even guide you to understand how threats can become opportunities or even how opportunities can all of a sudden become a threat.
SWOT stands for: Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat. The SWOT analysis was originally developed for business and industry; however, it is a beneficial tool for healthcare agencies as well.
One of the best ways to conduct a SWOT analysis is through a collaborative and inclusive process. It is also best to allow time from brainstorming and then analysis. By proceeding in this manner you are able to pool each person’s knowledge and experience. In addition, the more the environment is relaxed, the easier it will be for participants to be truthful and willing to share their perspectives. Lastly, as you are doing your assessment and planning keep your vision front and center so you do not just find a best fit, but create visionary goals and objectives. Don’t just follow the establish course, but explore how you can improve all facets of your organization/department/unit. When you conduct a thorough SWOT analysis you will discover a plethora of information that you will find very helpful.
The most common method for structuring your analysis is to utilize a four quadrant design. One quadrant will be strengths, one for weaknesses, one for opportunities, and one for threats. Within the following example I listed some questions that will hopefully guide you in completing your SWOT analysis. An example follows:
Strengths Weaknesses In this quadrant work on finding examples of your organization/department/unit that will guide the development of SMART goals/objective and your strengths that will assist in achieving those goals/objectives. This is an internal assessment. Below are some questions to guide you as you get started, however, they are not meant to be comprehensive. What does your unit/department/organization do well (patient outcomes/satisfaction)? What skills or specialized knowledge does your staff have (certifications and so forth)? How experienced is your staff and ancillary staff and are they adequate to provide quality patient care? What does your unit/department/organization do that makes your facility better than others? How well does your department/unit/organization utilize resources?
In this quadrant, identify characteristics of your organization/department/unit that may hinder progress in achieving your goals/objectives. This is an internal assessment. Below are some questions to guide you as you get started, however, they are not meant to be comprehensive. Where or what areas could you improve your organization/department/unit. Do you have adequate resources to the work (Staff, technology and so forth)? Are your patient satisfaction scores where they need to be and if not how does this affect reimbursement? Does your staff need additional educational opportunities or do you need staff with more experience? How could productivity be improved?
Threats Opportunities In this quadrant, assess external and internal issues that could affect the delivery of quality patient care and patients achieving quality outcomes. Below are some ideas or questions to guide you as you get started, however, they are not meant to be comprehensive. What road blocks are there for you to overcome? If you are in an area with major competitors, what makes them stronger (are their wages and benefits better or do they offer better services for example)? How does the economy affect your ability to deliver quality care? What’s going on in government both federally and state that may have a negative effect?
In this quadrant, think about the external and internal issues that will assist in achieving your goals/objectives. Below are some ideas or questions to guide you as you get started, however, they are not meant to be comprehensive. What are the goals/objectives you are currently working towards and what is your progress (this could also be a weakness if your goals/objectives are floundering)? How can you improve patient care and increase staff satisfaction? Would incorporating new technology enhance patient care? Could new staffing plans be implemented that would assist with retention, recruitment and satisfaction? Would restructuring the organization/department/unit structure assist in providing quality patient care?
Internal factors to assess are human resources, physical resources, financial resources, programs you may offer such as cardiac rehab, and any other experiences that may be strengths for your organization/department/unit. You may also want to look at how the community sees your organization and the services offered.
External factors are usually factors you are unable to control, but are vital to understand as you develop your goals/objectives. Some of these factors are how the profession may change, the economy, the culture of those that you care for or employ, legislation requirements whether state or federal, funding, and physical environment—is your facility outdated, poorly designed, what the neighborhood is like and so forth.
Once you have collected and compiled the data from your SWOT analysis prioritize the data by using a “one” for a factor/issue that may not be as important and a “three” for factors that are critically important. By doing this your will be able to identify and develop the goals/objective that are extremely relevant to your organizations/department/unit. As you begin to understand how to organize your data, you will find a SWOT analysis to be an effective tool in developing a strategic plan and making quality decisions.
Some thoughts to keep in mind when doing your SWOT. Always be realistic and look to the future. Be very specific and keep your SWOT analysis simple and try to avoid being overly complex and be true to your mission and vision.
By recognizing your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities you can build your strategic plan with relevant goals/objects.