March 2002

Catholic Health Initiatives’ Strategic Plan: An Implementation Overview


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The Catholic Health Initiatives Board of Stewardship Trustees approved an updated Strategic Plan in December 2001. Recent issues of Initiatives have shared information about the Strategic Planning Steering Committee membership, the overall planning process and the four Core Strategies that are the foundation of the plan. This issue focuses on the plan’s implementation, particularly the Priority Objectives within the plan, as well as the methods to be used to measure and report progress.

More Measurement, More Accountability

"Planning the work is important," said Bob Cook, vice president of strategic planning. "But working the plan is equally important if we are to achieve the plan’s intended impact and our desired outcomes. The stakeholder research we conducted before the planning process began underscored this idea very clearly. Our Strategic Planning Steering Committee asked stakeholders (including the Board of Stewardship Trustees, market-based organization chief executive officers and board chairs, physician and nurse leaders and Catholic Health Initiatives’ senior leadership) to describe, in their own words, the ‘best’ outcome for the strategic planning process. In their collective opinion, ‘measuring progress against a focused set of measurable objectives’ ranked higher than all others as a desired outcome."

"With that feedback in mind, we’ve continually tried to move closer and closer to measurable, time-bound initiatives with line-of-sight linkage to our strategic goals," said Michael Gloor, president and chief executive officer of Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, Neb., and a member of the Steering Committee.

To that end, each of the plan’s four Core Strategies has an Executive Sponsor and each of the 20 priority objectives has an Executive Owner.
  • An Executive Sponsor is responsible for seeing that progress is being made toward each of the five priority objectives defined within a strategy.
  • An Executive Owner will be responsible for accomplishing the desired outcomes for each objective.
"And, we have developed detailed work plans to accomplish each objective," said Cook. "The work plans themselves will ultimately be e-based so that we can input progress notes in real time and keep very current on status versus targets and completion dates. Our overall planning construct is very straightforward, and once we standardize the work plans and status reporting mechanism, it will be a real step forward for us."

More Alignment, More Focus

After the Board of Stewardship Trustees approved the strategic plan in December, Catholic Health Initiatives’ National Groups were asked to revisit their respective charters, core functions and priority initiatives for fiscal year 2003 to ensure that they are aligned with the priorities established in the strategic plan. Further, Catholic Health Initiatives’ organizational goals and incentive compensation programs will be tied directly to specific measures and outcomes defined in the plan. "More than ever before, Catholic Health Initiatives will have alignment of national and market-based organization resources and incentives, with everyone committed to the priority outcomes described in the Strategic Plan," said Kevin Lofton, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

A Balanced Scorecard

To monitor overall organizational performance, including key elements of the strategic plan, Catholic Health Initiatives will use a "Balanced Scorecard." "The Balanced Scorecard is a selected battery of measurements that, when viewed together, provide an integrated look at how Catholic Health Initiatives is moving toward its vision and accomplishing its mission," said John DiCola, senior vice president of strategy and business development. "We will track 20 to 25 key measures — from clinical quality and patient safety, to customer satisfaction, to community benefit and financial performance — that will help us better understand and evaluate our progress.

"The Balanced Scorecard will be reviewed by the Board of Stewardship Trustees on a quarterly basis, giving them an opportunity to understand in a quantifiable way how Catholic Health Initiatives — at the market-based level and in total — is performing and how the Strategic Plan is progressing," said DiCola. "It will also provide a framework for dialog with our market-based organizations about priorities, opportunities and key areas for development — both locally and nationally."

Next Steps

Communications materials are being developed to help market-based organizations communicate the plan and its progress to targeted audiences. The available materials will include:
  • A brochure that summarizes the core strategies and objectives in a simple format.
  • Talking points that market-based chief executive officers can use to present the plan to their boards and management teams.
  • A template article for inclusion in market-based newsletters.
  • A PowerPoint presentation that summarizes key data from the environmental assessment and the Strategic Plan.
The Catholic Health Initiatives’ National Chief Executive Officer Meeting in March will feature a presentation on the strategic plan that will focus primarily on implementation activity, and the communications tools described above will be introduced at that time.

Watch for updates on Strategic Plan implementation and progress in future issues of Initiatives.

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