Strategic planning is a convenient tool for creating a policy for developing medical organizations. It is especially important for large healthcare providers such as United Healthcare or Banner Health, which operate in several states and provide services to the general population. However, before developing a strategic plan, it is necessary to assess the organization’s readiness for change, including capable leadership, sufficient resources, and staff readiness (Gallagher, 2019). This step may be helpful to overcome possible obstacles that could arise in the process of implementing the strategic plan. This paper aims to describe Banner Health’s overall readiness to meet citizens’ healthcare needs in the next decade and prepare a comprehensive strategic plan.
Banner Health appeared after the merger of two influential non-profit organizations Samaritan Health System and Lutheran Health Systems. Today, Banner Health is a not-for-profit health system headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, with subsidiaries in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. These are 28 hospitals and isolated healthcare facilities, which are part of the Banner Health network, and have a diverse focus, including scientific and specialized healthcare (Sanborn, 2018). The Banner Health network employs over 50 thousand workers (About Banner Health, 2020). Its facilities provide emergency and hospital care, hospice, long-term care, home care, outpatient surgery, laboratories, rehabilitation services, pharmacies, and primary care. Banner Health provides healthcare services under Medicare Advantage and AHCCCS insurance plans named University Care Advantage and Banner University Family Care.
Organization’s Overall Readiness for Changes
Considering that Banner Health is a dynamic organization that has been steadily expanding its network over the past ten years and actively hiring new employees, its overall readiness level is assessed as high. Assessing an organization’s readiness for change is an essential element of strategic planning. When developing new projects, an assessment is usually made of those aspects related to the implementation of the project objectives (Gallagher, 2019). Since the developed strategic plan sets a rather broad goal of meeting citizens’ health care needs in the next decade, to assess overall readiness, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of leadership, the volume of resources, and staff’s willingness to change.
Noteworthy, leadership approaches of Banner Health are based on the philosophy of the president and CEO Peter Fine. He notes that “visibility breeds trust, authority breeds trust, and if you want to be trusted, you better be visible” (Cash, 2016, para. 4). To ensure this visibility, Mr. Fine personally provides monthly leadership briefings to all new leaders in the Banner network. He instructs his colleagues to make daily morning routes though the hospital so that staff can see the leader’s presence, as this is a powerful source of motivation.
Besides, the CEO believes that leaders should “enjoy making difficult decisions and get used to the ambiguity inherent in the transition industry” (Cash, 2016, para. 5). Therefore, Mr. Fine is not afraid of the complexities and ambiguities that arise in transitional situations, which allows him to be frank and open. Management methods are also likely to affect the management of the company’s resources, which were enough to increase the number of employees from 22 to 50 thousand in 20 years (About Banner Health, 2020). During this time, the Banner Health network significantly expanded through partnerships and a variety of acquisitions. Besides, the recruitment of new staff ensured a high readiness for change.
Given that the process of network expansion is stable, this process’s basis can be preserved unchanged. Notably, Banner Health currently relies heavily on acquiring functioning healthcare facilities and joining them to the network. On the one hand, this is a mutually beneficial practice, since Banner Health is likely to improve the acquired institutions’ financial and medical processes, keeping the work for the employees. Nevertheless, this practice cannot continue indefinitely, since Banner Health creates preconditions for unhealthy competition, squeezing out smaller players from the market. Therefore, it is recommended in the next ten years to limit the practice of acquisition and, if necessary, create new medical institutions in states with problems with the provision of medical care and a shortage of medical facilities.
In this regard, it will also be necessary to change the principles of nurse staffing, shifting the focus to hiring and training young employees under more experienced colleagues’ guidance. Currently, Banner Health receives ready-made medical teams with skilled employees who have years of medical practice. Hiring more experienced staff provides higher quality medical services, but it also creates a shortage of medical graduates’ jobs. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the percentage of employees recruited into Banner Heath medical facilities immediately after graduation. A positive side effect will be a higher willingness of young employees to change.
The main tasks for further resource management will include managing employees’ working hours and controlling drugs and new equipment purchases. Besides, with the expansion of the network, there is a possibility of spending on new medical centers’ construction. Since the processes associated with the procurement of drugs and equipment function effectively, special attention should be paid to distributing the workload among medical workers. Today, doctors and nurses often suffer from overestimated workloads due to which the quality of services and patient satisfaction levels can suffer.
Therefore, it is recommended to reduce working hours from 12 to 8 and from 8 to 6 hours per shift while maintaining wages. This approach will make it possible to significantly increase many indicators, while the cost of employee remuneration will increase by no more than 10%. Further, patients’ future satisfaction may be related to the availability of telemedicine services and the quality of the functioning of EHRSs. As Banner Health has faced problems in this area, this aspect will be presented separately.
Current and Potential Issues within the Organizational Culture
In the past, Banner health has faced significant challenges in implementing the EHRS. For example, in 2016, the organization found itself at the epicenter of a data breach scandal, as a result of which Banner Health agreed to compensate related damages of $ 1 million (Sanborn, 2018). Further, in 2018, the company spent another $ 45 million to move all facilities in the network from Epic to the more reliable Cerner EHRS, used initially in Banner Health medical facilities (Sanborn, 2018). Therefore, cybersecurity problems were settled, but other possible issues related to data privacy can appear. In this regard, it is necessary to develop clear and appropriate procedures for working with EHRS, including monthly system security checks.
Model for Strategic Plan Implementation
Strategic planning involves the use of various models, as they provide a unified baseline for strategy implementation. The most acceptable is the Hoshin Kanri strategic planning model (Wright, 2019). It allows setting long-term goals, for example, for the next 3-5 years, and creates the possibility of their implementation by forming annual objectives and individual action items. It should also be noted that such 3-5 year strategies are developed under a single company vision. The advantage of this approach is the ability to instantly assess the strategy’s implementation by monitoring the achievement of annual plans and action points. This model is also more acceptable in the presented case, as it is designed specifically for long periods, in contrast to the OKR Model, which is convenient when working with quarterly tasks.
Thus, Banner Health’s overall readiness to meet citizens’ health care needs in the next decade was described and accessed as high. Besides, a comprehensive strategic plan was prepared with advice to apply a Hoshin Kanri strategic planning model. The main changes that need to be implemented shortly is a change in the approach to network expansion and hiring employees. Special attention should also be paid to cybersecurity issues, as they have already arisen in the past. An integrated approach to implementing the strategic plan will allow overcome possible obstacles and ensure the organization’s stable development.
About Banner Health. (2020). Web.
Gallagher, B. (2019). What is an organizational readiness assessment? Web.
Kash, B. A. (2016). Interview with Peter S. Fine, FACHE, President and CEO of Banner Health. Journal of Healthcare Management, 61(2), 81.
Sanborn, B. (2018). Healthcare Finance. Web.
Wright, T. (2019). Web.