MINNEAPOLIS — It’s no secret that the medical imaging industry must adapt with the onset of accountable care organizations. The question is whether radiology administrators are changing their strategic planning discussions in the face of such reforms.
“The strategic planning process itself probably hasn’t changed for the last 30 or 40 years,” said Bob Maier, CPA, CEO of Regents Health Resources, speaking this week at the AHRA 2013 annual meeting. “And what we need to recognize is that our organizations are changing. So the strategic plans that we developed three or four years ago, or five years ago, or just before the great recession, are no longer valid.”
The planning process starts with gathering the facts: What’s important to an organization and where is it going? Who are the stakeholders? Such questions may have once been easily answerable, but not anymore. If an organization isn’t participating in an ACO today, Maier said, it might be six months from now. And if radiology administrators aren’t yet involved in payer contract negotations, they may be soon.
Next comes what’s known as a SWOT analysis, where leaders evaluate their facilities’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Most important, Maier said, is the considerations of weaknesses and how to fix them.
“Sometimes we don’t understand what those opportunities are in the marketplace,” Maier said. He asked that radiology administrators take an active interest in the market and encourage their radiologists to do so as well. The physicians, he said, tend to get caught up in the bubble of their hospital. “Every day we see changes where one practice is taking over for another, a hospital is buying an outpatient imaging center, hospitals are buying physician practices. We need to know ahead of time what’s going on.”
Once the opportunities are evaluated, Maier said leaders should narrow in on what is most deserving of their attention and then define the strategies to get them to their end goals. Ideally those goals would be sustainable for the “foreseeable future,” Maier said, but given today’s landscape, that’s not always possible.
“It’s pretty tough to define what that foreseeable future is today,” he said. “Ten years ago it may have been a five-year horizon. Today it’s probably less than a year. So this is a process that we have to continuously revisit and come back to and say, ‘Are our assumptions still valid? Are the inputs still valid, and are our goals still valid, and are we doing everything we can to achieve those goals?’”
And those goals should be a short-list of two or three objectives that are consistently adjusted and reviewed. If a facility has a list of 10 to achieve, the other seven or eight goals can wait until the first ones are crossed off, Maier said.
He added, “Making goals achievable is up to you as an administrator to say, ‘How do I put together the right team to get these done?’”