Strategic planning is critical within an organization as it offers a sense of direction and designates measurable goals. Strategic planning is a tool employed in evaluating progress and in guiding day-to-day decisions as well as changing approaches when moving forward. Organizations should give careful thought to strategic objectives in order to make the most of strategic planning. In addition, an organization should back up its goals with realistic, well-researched, and quantifiable benchmarks for evaluating results. In a healthcare organization, strategic planning should include patient safety goals, data management and informatics, and hazard preparedness.
Patient safety goals
The major reason why patient safety goals should be included in a strategic is that patient safety is a critical element in an effective and efficient healthcare environment where delivery of quality care prevails. Patient safety involves protecting patients from infections, injuries, accidents, and treatment errors. Prospective studies have shown that although many hospitals are keeping their patients safe, some healthcare settings are not. According to the World Healthcare Organization (WHO), over 440,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors in hospitals (Graban, 2016). Thus, it the responsibility of every individual in a healthcare system to prioritize patient safety at every hospital worldwide. In a healthcare organization, a strategic plan can focus on putting checks in a place to prevent mistakes, strengthening the healthcare teams to reduce infection rates, and implementing strong lines of communication between medical staff, patients and families. Thus patient safety goals are an important area to include in a strategic plan to ensure the delivery of quality care.
Data management and informatics
Technology and data have transformed the healthcare industry and the importance of health informatics. The reason why data management and informatics should be included in the strategic plan is to help health organizations determine which data provides the best information for the treatment process or practice that is being evaluated. In the healthcare system data is used to support decisions and the establishment of best clinical practices. Good data management that aggregates multiple sources of information make it accessible to authorized persons in the care continuum. Besides, data management and informatics help to produce a longitudinal health record which allows all health professionals to have the most accurate medical history for patients (Bates, et al. 2014).
Also, data management and informatics are useful in promoting provider-coordinated care. The ability to analyze data obtained from another medical staff provides a clear picture of a patient’s responses to surgical, medical, and rehabilitative treatments. Monitoring the progress of health enables nurse practitioners to identify gaps in the delivery of care and adjust to promote patient outcomes (Bates, et al. 2014). Therefore, data management and informatics are important areas which need to be included in strategic planning to promote the quality of care provided in a healthcare system.
Hospitals and their staff play important role in hazard preparedness and response efforts for all types of events such as pandemic outbreaks, man-made or natural disasters, or terrorist attacks. Hazard preparedness is an important area that should be included in the strategic plan to create awareness of the significance of a hospital’s response to emergencies. Considering hazard preparedness during strategic planning can help to reassess and upgrade the existing hazard preparedness plans. The Joint Commission requires its member hospitals to perform an annual hazard vulnerability analysis to provide the groundwork for emergency planning efforts (Graban, 2016). Health facilities should carry out or review the existing hazard vulnerability analysis.
Bates, D. W., Saria, S., Ohno-Machado, L., Shah, A., & Escobar, G. (2014). Big data in health care: using analytics to identify and manage high-risk and high-cost patients. Health Affairs, 33(7), 1123-1131.
Graban, M. (2016). Lean hospitals: improving quality, patient safety, and employee engagement. CRC press.