Strategic Planning for 50 Years: Q&A With Scottsdale Healthcare CEO Tom Sadvary

Scottsdale Healthcare CEO Tom Sadvary describes the system's strategic plan.This year, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Healthcare celebrates its 50th anniversary. From one hospital with 55 physicians and 200 employees, the non-profit organization has become a three-hospital system with more than 6,700 staff members. The health system's growth is due in large part to a strong strategic plan that emphasizes the system's mission of providing quality care to the community. Tom Sadvary, president and CEO of Scottsdale Healthcare, describes Scottsdale Healthcare's strategic plan and how it has changed over the past 50 years.

Q: Can you describe some elements of Scottsdale Healthcare's current strategic plan?

Mr. Sadvary: Scottsdale Healthcare has defined a Desired Future State in which our health system will move from a hospital system towards a clinically integrated healthcare delivery system that extends across the entire continuum of care.

Our strategic planning process uses a balanced scorecard approach to meeting our non-profit community-based mission of providing the highest quality and most compassionate care for all individuals. This helps us set goals for quality patient outcomes, patient and family satisfaction, investment in talent and technology, employee and physician satisfaction, growth and creating a sustainable future.

Q: How is the current strategic plan different from the health system's strategic plans from the past 50 years?

TS: Past models focused on acute care, whereas our planning is now built around core strategies looking at care over the continuum and managing populations to keep our community healthy. Our future success factors include exceptional quality and service, efficient resource and cost management, sophisticated IT connectivity, physician alignment, employee engagement and development, which will allow us to continue our market leadership.

Q: How is the process of strategic planning different today than it has been over the past 50 years? For example, do you include different team members when setting goals?

TS: We are constantly evaluating data — looking at our own internal data, external trends, what's going on in state and local government — and find value in networking with our peers. We work hard to involve all levels of staff and our physician partners in planning, and use the Baldrige criteria in strategic planning for our health system.

Q: What are some of the attributes of a strategic plan that can guide a hospital or health system to long-term success? Conversely, what attributes can keep hospitals stuck in the present?

TS: A balanced approach tied to using evidence-based and externally validated benchmarks are critical to success. As hospitals move away from volume to value, we want to provide the highest quality care for acute patients while investing in population management through extending our already robust community benefit programs and services, and affiliat[ing] with providers across the continuum.

Our focus as always is on the patient — the person. As we position our system for the future, acute care is now in a transformational stage. We are developing a clinically integrated delivery network with the long-term goal of effective population management. I believe these must be done in sequence but we are already taking steps in each.

Hospitals not embracing technology may be left behind in the future. Connectivity — achieving seamless integration of information systems — is critical to success.

Q: How should hospitals and health systems approach strategic planning when there is so much uncertainty about healthcare reform?

TS: Regardless of the outcome of health reform, we are making investments in various initiatives that will add value for Scottsdale Healthcare and our community. We will do this by providing multiple access points to care for continuity of care over a patient's entire lifetime, advocating proactive wellness and disease prevention, helping individuals proactively manage chronic disease, providing the highest quality care at the lowest cost, combined with the safest, most satisfying healthcare experience.

More Articles on Strategic Planning:

How to Measure Your Brand
Competition Between ASCs and Hospitals: 4 Statistics

3 Tips for Creating a Hospital Strategic Plan in Times of Uncertainty

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