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Written by: Darlene D'Altorio-Jones (1959-2015) on Monday, August 1, 2011 Posted in: Inpatient Rehab

Does it make sense anymore?

I have been in healthcare for nearly 30 years now.  In just as much time, I have been involved in countless strategic plans on small and large scales to operationalize change and forge toward some known future growth. The unsettling part is “known future growth” could always be envisioned and measurement toward that success was obtainable and tangible.  I felt secure in knowing I could lead others toward that vision.

So what has changed? As clinicians or leaders headed into the next several years, I believe more than ever that strategic planning, dashboards for success and tight operational management will still be key to driving successful healthcare futures.  Will you really “know the future” and exactly what you’re driving to deliver?

NOT SO MUCH!!  (Borrowed from a colleague affectionately, and I hope she is smiling in eastern PA!)

There are so many possibilities ahead of us, each with less certainty than the convictions originally imagined as possible solutions to tomorrow’s pains. Only a few things are certain. We will be held accountable, but are Accountable Care  Organizations the driver? Stiff opposition says twice as much paper will be needed to sort out success for that venue. Until we are willing to give a lot more to get much less personally, but more for the greater good of the public,  we will continue to struggle with “what’s in it for me.”

Are operations as tight as they could be so that margin can still be achieved LEAN? If they were, could we be more creative for future patients and the solutions to healthcare issues at large?  To know the future will take stretches of imagination so great; and are you prepared for that long term strategic plan?  Can you envision it? Can you lead it?

We must be more efficient and effective because dollars to support healthcare are becoming more scarce and the lofty perks and “bonus packages” employers used to entice their employees with have nearly disappeared.  Even the workforce itself has taken a hit in the down turned economy.  How can we lead successful practice and sustain enough margin to prosper and grow toward tomorrows continuous expectations?   What has to happen to align the moon and stars before the big cataclysmic attack?

If I knew that answer, I would obviously be writing a book and not a blog.  The  future strategic plan and our accountability toward meeting those expectations will require continuous analytic decisions that continuously tweak day-to-day decisiveness toward a skill so precise that you will predict and guide effortlessly toward better than expected outcomes.  Why? Because we have to.  The future of healthcare depends on the unknown and forever improving long term strategic plan delivered in bursts of short term strategic objectives.