Top 10 Strategic Questions You May Be Too Busy to Ask (But Should Make Time for Anyway)

1 September, 2015

Top 10 Strategic Questions You May Be Too Busy to Ask (But Should Make Time for Anyway)

By Panos Lykidis, MBA, Vice President, GE Healthcare Camden Group

A lot of health system management teams and boards use dashboards to track their organization’s performance. The purpose is to do a quick view of current trends. But, how often do you dig deeper to evaluate performance against metrics, market trends, and your strategic plan? This list poses 10 questions you may have overlooked or should proactively address as a mid-year checkup.

1. Narrow network strategy

Your organization’s payer mix no longer changes based only on consumer choice or socio-economic status. Are you securing narrow network positioning that benefits your organization while strategically displacing one or more of your top competitors? The opportunity cost of not being on the right side of this equation is compounded by the significant advantage you may be gifting to your competitors.

2. Physician enterprise results

You have aligned with some of your physicians. You listened to the right advice. However, have you evaluated if you are getting the optimal desired results? Keeping your physicians happy is only part of the answer. Recalibrating and tying the performance of your physician enterprise to your organizational targets should be an annual if not mid-year exercise. Is its performance aligned with your population health management strategies? Assuring that physician-hospital strategies are aligned with payer strategies is critical in today’s environment.

3. Mid-year strategy tune-up

Some of your strategies worked, some have not. Have you given enough focus on understanding why some failed? Is it due to timing, market factors, or poor execution? Unless you understand all the contributing variables, you will not improve your success rate and will continue to diminish the value generated from your annual planning efforts. Do you need to eliminate some strategies and reinvigorate others? Re-setting priorities periodically is critical when the market is changing quickly.

4. Risk mitigation analysis

All strategies have varied degrees of associated risks. Some organizations ignore them; others make sure to be aware of them. However, risks are not fixed variables. They can be prospectively mitigated to increase the chance of success. Are you including a risk mitigation analysis in all your strategic planning? It is a vital mid-year step that can help you decide between choices with the same potential return.

5. Department/Service line business process efficiency analysis

There have always been periods where organizations focus on “trimming the fat” and becoming lean. These efforts are often followed by periods of no growth, as the remaining staff struggle to perform the basic duties of the organization. Like a shark that has to keep swimming to survive, an organization must continue to grow. Are your departments and service lines operating efficiently and optimally? A business and clinical operational process assessment can improve your department and service line operational efficiencies, fuel your growth by reducing waste, and be funded through future savings, since most of these engagements are structured wholly or partly at-risk for the vendors providing these services. Further, they are critical to enabling success in new payment models, such as bundled payment or shared savings.

6. Pre- and post-acute continuum services

Historically, what happened inside the walls of the hospital dictated how the organization fared. Then, outpatient became as important. Today, the question is, are you winning the pre- and post-acute care battle? What is your strategy to partner, provide, or acquire these services? Focusing on the whole continuum of care means that you need to be very good at things you did not do or maybe even think about just five years ago.

7. Revenue impact assessment

Changes to worry about used to be related to losing one payer contract or seeing one medical group align with a competitor. In today’s competitive environment, the changes are happening in waves, with the impact becoming exponential. Can your organization survive a 15 percent revenue decrease? You must have a revenue-focused growth contingency plan in place to weather such an eventuality for 6 to 12 months, in order to prevent a tough blow from becoming a fatal one.

8. Philanthropy, again

Competition is not a new phenomenon, but it is not only about market share, physician alignment, and service growth. With financial pressures negatively impacting operational margins, philanthropy is becoming all the more important. The haves and have-nots are also distinguished by how much philanthropy they attract. Are your vision, brand, and message attracting the right levels of philanthropy?

9. Care model redesign

You have probably revised your care protocols to achieve best practices across your organization. Have you assessed the effectiveness of your care models for today’s needs? Are they positioning your organization to succeed in value-based payer relationships? Are they responsive to new entrants into your market that are patient and technology-friendly? They should be enhancing your ability to attract, engage, and retain patients. If they are not resulting in behavior change from your providers, with tangible results, then it is time for an adjustment.

10. Competency-guided governance

Lastly, the complicated questions laid out here demonstrate the sophistication needed to navigate the current healthcare landscape and make decisions that could determine if an organization will survive. Do you have the right board composition for this climate? What was appropriate before may no longer be the case. It is essential to determine what competencies the board needs (individually and collectively) to effectively govern the organization through these complex and changing times. The results of a competency needs analysis can help you create a board that is more engaged and more confident in tackling their fiduciary duties.

A mid-year check-up using some or all of these questions will put your organization ahead of the curve in weathering the evolving healthcare environment that persists. Riding the turbulence successfully will be the challenge of the decade for all.


Mr. Lykidis is a vice president with GE Healthcare Camden Group with more than 15 years of healthcare experience specializing in strategic and business planning for a broad range of healthcare provider and payer organizations. His experience includes service line strategic planning, such as developing hospital/physician alignment models, co-management arrangements, facility master planning, conducting medical staff development plans and community impact studies, developing co-management arrangements and performing physician needs and fair market value compensation studies. He has extensive experience guiding healthcare organizations in developing actionable strategic plans, including facilitating planning retreats utilizing a dynamic approach that ensures active participation by all participants and resulting in maximum buy-in.He may be reached at panos.lykidis@ge.com

20:49 min
#25 - Jim Scheulen, CAO, Johns Hopkins Capacity Command Center Cover Image
On this podcast, Jeff is joined by Jim Scheulen, Chief Administrative Officer of Capacity ...
Jan 21 · 20:49 min
On this podcast, Jeff is joined by Jim Scheulen, Chief Administrative Officer of Capacity Management and Emergency ...
Jan 21 · 20:49 min
11:37 min
#24 - New Method for Managing Physician Burnout Cover Image
Jeff Terry and Gabriella Devine discuss how OHSU Mission Control implemented Treatment ...
Jan 13 · 11:37 min
Jeff Terry and Gabriella Devine discuss how OHSU Mission Control implemented Treatment Team Workload Tile, a new app ...
Jan 13 · 11:37 min
21:16 min
#23 - New Method for Digitizing the Patient Journey Cover Image
This episode describes the use, configuration and deployment of Patient Manager Tile at ...
Dec 22 · 21:16 min
This episode describes the use, configuration and deployment of Patient Manager Tile at eight AdventHealth hospitals in ...
Dec 22 · 21:16 min
11:01 min
#22 - Patient Manager Tile - A Personal Command Center for Caregivers Cover Image
This is Patient Manager, the Tile that puts a command center at every caregiver’s ...
Oct 29 · 11:01 min
This is Patient Manager, the Tile that puts a command center at every caregiver’s fingertips. Patient Manager helps ...
Oct 29 · 11:01 min
04:39 min
#21 - Patient Manager Tile - Profiles and Search Cover Image
It's so important that users can work at speed in the Patient Manager Tile. This video ...
Oct 15 · 04:39 min
It's so important that users can work at speed in the Patient Manager Tile. This video shows a bit about profiles and ...
Oct 15 · 04:39 min
04:19 min
#20 - Patient Manager Tile with Downgrade Module Cover Image
Who is ready and eligible for downgrade to another level of care? All information at once.
Oct 5 · 04:19 min
Who is ready and eligible for downgrade to another level of care? All information at once.
Oct 5 · 04:19 min
05:52 min
#19 - Advanced Illness Tile Cover Image
The Real Time all-the-time Tile helps to manage the cohort of patients who have advanced ...
Sep 28 · 05:52 min
The Real Time all-the-time Tile helps to manage the cohort of patients who have advanced illness and may be planning ...
Sep 28 · 05:52 min
07:02 min
#18 - Patient Manager Tile Introduction Cover Image
The Patient Manager Tile a game changer for two reasons: it enables multidisciplinary ...
Jul 14 · 07:02 min
The Patient Manager Tile a game changer for two reasons: it enables multidisciplinary teams to problem solve in Real ...
Jul 14 · 07:02 min
06:25 min
#17 - Procedural Snapshot Tile Cover Image
The Procedural Snapshot Tile provides situational awareness as well as patient-level ...
Jul 9 · 06:25 min
The Procedural Snapshot Tile provides situational awareness as well as patient-level actionable alerts to help keep ...
Jul 9 · 06:25 min
06:34 min
#16 - Obstetrics and Neonatal Tile Cover Image
Following an evidence-based standard of care, the Obstetrics and Neonatal Tiles improve ...
Jul 7 · 06:34 min
Following an evidence-based standard of care, the Obstetrics and Neonatal Tiles improve the situational awareness for ...
Jul 7 · 06:34 min
06:14 min
#15 - Anesthesia Exceptions Tile Cover Image
The Anesthesia Exceptions Tile is used to coordinate and assist the flow of complex ...
Jun 30 · 06:14 min
The Anesthesia Exceptions Tile is used to coordinate and assist the flow of complex procedural cases across an array of ...
Jun 30 · 06:14 min
07:37 min
#14 - ED Expediter Tile Cover Image
The ED Expediter Tile is useful in advancing patients through emergency departments and ...
Jun 25 · 07:37 min
The ED Expediter Tile is useful in advancing patients through emergency departments and providing patient level alerts ...
Jun 25 · 07:37 min
06:02 min
#13 - Transfers Tile Cover Image
The Transfers Tile aggregates information on the individual patients queued to transfer ...
Jun 23 · 06:02 min
The Transfers Tile aggregates information on the individual patients queued to transfer into the system.
Jun 23 · 06:02 min
14:18 min
#12 - Discharge Barriers Tile Cover Image
The Discharge Barriers Tile outlines the key actions the care team can take to facilitate ...
Jun 18 · 14:18 min
The Discharge Barriers Tile outlines the key actions the care team can take to facilitate patients who are identified ...
Jun 18 · 14:18 min
10:31 min
#11 - Boarders Tile Cover Image
The Boarders Tile provides facility and system level visibility to all inbound pressure ...
Jun 16 · 10:31 min
The Boarders Tile provides facility and system level visibility to all inbound pressure on the system to take patients ...
Jun 16 · 10:31 min
14:43 min
#10 - Capacity Snapshot Tile Cover Image
The Capacity Snapshot Tile provides insight on bed capacity both in the moment and after ...
Jun 11 · 14:43 min
The Capacity Snapshot Tile provides insight on bed capacity both in the moment and after we process decisions.
Jun 11 · 14:43 min
07:36 min
#09 - Critical Resources Tile Cover Image
From State-level to Unit-level, Real Time awareness of available beds.
Jun 9 · 07:36 min
From State-level to Unit-level, Real Time awareness of available beds.
Jun 9 · 07:36 min
06:46 min
#08 - Infectious Disease Tile Cover Image
The Infectious Disease Tile was developed in response the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides ...
Jun 4 · 06:46 min
The Infectious Disease Tile was developed in response the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides visualization of patient load ...
Jun 4 · 06:46 min
05:08 min
#07 - Post Acute Placement Tile Cover Image
The Post Acute Placement Tile is used to reduce excess days and facilitate outplacement ...
Jun 2 · 05:08 min
The Post Acute Placement Tile is used to reduce excess days and facilitate outplacement of patients from an inpatient ...
Jun 2 · 05:08 min
06:49 min
#06 - Imaging Expediter Tile Cover Image
The Imaging Expediter Tile provides Real Time visibility to available capacity by ...
May 28 · 06:49 min
The Imaging Expediter Tile provides Real Time visibility to available capacity by modality and supports operational ...
May 28 · 06:49 min
04:20 min
#05 - Care Progression Tile Cover Image
The Care Progression Tile provides hospitals the ability to track patients throughout ...
May 26 · 04:20 min
The Care Progression Tile provides hospitals the ability to track patients throughout their inpatient stay.
May 26 · 04:20 min
05:15 min
#04 - Risk of Harm Tile Cover Image
The Risk of Harm Tile provides visibility to track variations in practice versus hospital ...
May 21 · 05:15 min
The Risk of Harm Tile provides visibility to track variations in practice versus hospital defined care plans.
May 21 · 05:15 min
05:51 min
#03 - Seniors Care Tile Cover Image
The Seniors Care Tile helps ensure geriatric inpatients outside the geriatric unit ...
May 19 · 05:51 min
The Seniors Care Tile helps ensure geriatric inpatients outside the geriatric unit receive best practice care in ...
May 19 · 05:51 min
08:46 min
#02 - Discharge Planning and Escalation Tile Cover Image
The Discharge Planning Tile empowers rounding across the system by providing a fast way ...
May 14 · 08:46 min
The Discharge Planning Tile empowers rounding across the system by providing a fast way to review patients, log ...
May 14 · 08:46 min
06:34 min
#01 - Clinical Deterioration Tile Cover Image
The Clinical Deterioration Tile brings real-time, all-the-time awareness of the status of ...
Aug 1 · 06:34 min
The Clinical Deterioration Tile brings real-time, all-the-time awareness of the status of the most critically ill ...
Aug 1 · 06:34 min
172.16.28.197