industry is transforming at a rapid rate, placing increased pressure on
driving these changes include health reforms, the implementation of the Health
Care Homes model and digital health system, the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review
and the national roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). These
changes are also coupled with the evolving epidemic of chronic diseases and
heightened patient expectations.
during these challenging times and having a solid business strategy in place is
essential to ensure your practice not only survives, but thrives. Now is the
ideal time to undertake a more in-depth review of your business and plan for
High performing practices
experience, high performing practices are embracing the opportunities that
these changes create. They think strategically, plan for success and execute
their plans efficiently and effectively. Importantly, they regularly take a
step back from the day-to-day busyness of running a practice to invest time in strategic
planning to grow the practice.
noting that the RACGP’s Standards for General
Practice (5th edition) Criterion C3.1 – Business operations systems requires practices to demonstrate
strategic thinking and business planning. This recognition by the profession to
incorporate planning as an accreditation indicator endorses the importance of practices
embedding strategic planning into their business practices.
Benefits of strategic planning
your business vision and goals through the strategic planning process will
ensure your daily operations all work towards achieving sustained success. The
benefits of strategic planning include:
- Focusing attention on the common vision and purpose.
- Reducing distractions caused by differences of opinion and other
- Providing a platform for effective decision making.
- Reducing your vulnerability to external influences in the industry.
- Enabling your practice to be proactively managed.
- Providing a clear focus for the investment of effort and resources.
- Increasing productivity because effort is steered in the same direction.
- Building stronger teams and the buy-in of people involved in the
- Communicating goals and objectives to key stakeholders.
Six steps to draft your strategic
strategic plan involves several steps however in its simplest form it essentially
involves asking these key questions: Where are we now?Where do we want to be in the future? and How
are we going to get there?
The steps below
provide a structure for practices to work through in drafting their strategic
1. Who are we?
- Our purpose – why does the practice exist and what difference does it
- Our values – the core values that underpin the decisions made by your practice.
2. Where do we want to be?
- Our vision – a description of what success would look like.
3. Where are we now?
- The key issues – use a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, Threats) to identify any issues the practice is currently facing
which are likely to have an impact in the future. Consider factors internal to
the practice and external, such as the changing profile of the suburb your
practice operates in.
4. How do we get there?
- Our priorities – key areas your practice needs to focus on.
- Our objectives – outcomes the practice aims to achieve in each key area
and deadlines for each outcome.
- Our strategies – initiatives or actions that can be undertaken to
achieve these outcomes and any resource constraints that need to be considered,
for example budget constraints or time.
5. How do we make it happen?
- Develop a simplified one-page strategy that can be shared with the
practice team – there are lots of good templates online.
- Create an action plan which includes a more detailed list of action
items for each priority area defining who does what by when.
6. Did we make it happen?
- The most important part of strategic planning is gathering the practice
team together to discuss where the practice is at and where it’s heading, then executing
the plan. Therefore, it’s crucial to make time to review progress in executing the
plan. This should be a standing agenda item at the beginning of your practice’s
Return on investment
The best approach
for undertaking this planning process is for your practice leaders to set aside
a day. We recommend using a neutral venue away from the practice setting and
engaging an external facilitator to manage the process. The facilitator should ask
a series of questions that enable the group to come to a collective
understanding of where the practice is heading and how to get there.
strategic plan is one of the most important tools in your business tool kit. Investing
time to plan prepares your practice for success and can enable your business to
weather the impact of the challenges created as the healthcare environment
continues to evolve.
Applications now open –
Avant/AAPM Scholarship Program 2018
and the Australian Association of Practice Management’s (AAPM’s) long-term partnership since 2014, aims to empower practice managers
The Avant/AAPM Scholarship Program 2018 is again offering five scholarships* to
study practice management at UNE Partnerships in 2019.
can apply directly for a scholarship, and doctors are also invited to nominate
their practice manager to apply. For more information visit our website. Applications
close Friday 17 August 2018.
*Each scholarship is awarded up to the value of
$4,000. For more information and full terms and conditions visit the AAPM website.
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