Reflect on the year
What has gotten done, what is still in process, and which high priority projects would you like to complete by the end of 2019? Review your calendar and your to-do lists and ask the staff involved in the discussion to do the same.
Consider that, although you’ve got a few months to address priority items before year-end, the holidays will be here soon, and that productivity may wane a bit given employee time off and schedule. Be realistic about what you can achieve by December 31; some projects may need to be moved to next year.
Set a vision for the practice’s future
A good plan starts with a vision of what you want from your practice. What do you want for your practice in the next one to three years? For example, do you want to improve physician time flexibility by transitioning to a concierge model or adding telemedicine services? Add new services by opening a physical therapy department or recruiting a subspecialty partner? Increase revenue by partnering with the hospital in a new surgery center? Get your ideas out on the table, and refine them into a list of no more than three objectives. More than that can splinter your focus. Put the finalized list in writing.
Identify the business problems
Do you have old technologies that need updating? Is the practice experiencing growth that requires additional managers or staff? Are the days in A/R through the roof? These are examples of business problems that could be solved next year. Walk through each area of the practice and discuss which problems need to be addressed. For instance:
- Hiring/Workforce Planning
- Coding and Revenue Cycle
- Financial Management
List the issues in each area and identify the highest 1-2 priorities in each. Set goals for how you will address and achieve them. If you can, add a few details - such as a likely project lead for technology selection and implementation, or the type of roles you’ll need to hire for if say, you are planning to develop and open a second office site.
Ask probing questions
If done well, planning discussions should foster rigorous discussion and questions about the direction of the practice. Don’t see disagreement as negative but rather as a way to get to a better quality result.
For the goals and objectives in the plan you might ask the team:
- “What do we have to make sure we do right in order to achieve this goal?”
- “What tools/staff need to be in place to get this project done?”
- “If we choose to pursue this goal in 2020, what are we going to have to decide not to do?”
Put goals in writing
Putting the plan in writing makes it real. It does not have to be lengthy or complicated. Several pages or a short slide deck will do. Document your vision for 2020, the three objectives you chose, and the specific goals for solving key business problems. Distribute it to your team so everyone knows what to expect.