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Physician Practices Often Do Not Plan for Future

Few develop and follow a strategic plan

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 11, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most physician practices do not treat their practices as businesses and plan for the future, but they should develop and follow a strategic plan, according to an article published Nov. 10 in Medical Economics.

Strategic planning is important for physician practices, according to the article, but only about 20 percent of practices have a plan in place. However, even when a plan is in place, many physicians are too busy taking care of patients and trying to survive. The goal of strategic planning is to improve as a practice and determine what needs to be done for the next five years. The outcome of strategic planning is to produce a document outlining what the practice intends to do and in what time frame, and assign responsibility for particular parts of the plan.

The article recommends having an offsite meeting to develop goals and objectives that can be used to create a mission statement; having good advisers and good metrics on practice performance; performing an analysis (possibly with an outside facilitator) on goals and any sensitive issues; addressing issues such as quality, finance, growth, patient satisfaction, and employee satisfaction; developing an action plan; creating actionable goals; assigning responsibility (with accountability and follow-up); and having an exit strategy and succession plan.

"In any medical practice, if you're just going to show up at work every day and go home every evening, without proper planning, you're in a heap of trouble," said Reed Tinsley, C.P.A., a health care consultant from Houston, according to the Medical Economics article. "Treat your practice as a business because that's exactly what it is."

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