Strategic planning processes and hospital financial performance.J Healthc Manag. 2008 May-Jun; 53(3):197-208; discussion 208-9.JH
Many common management practices in healthcare organizations, including the practice of strategic planning, have not been subject to widespread assessment through empirical research. If management practice is to be evidence-based, evaluations of such common practices need to be undertaken. The purpose of this research is to provide evidence on the extent of strategic planning practices and the association between hospital strategic planning processes and financial performance. In 2006, we surveyed a sample of 138 chief executive officers (CEOs) of hospitals in the state of Texas about strategic planning in their organizations and collected financial information on the hospitals for 2003. Among the sample hospitals, 87 percent reported having a strategic plan, and most reported that they followed a variety of common practices recommended for strategic planning-having a comprehensive plan, involving physicians, involving the board, and implementing the plan. About one-half of the hospitals assigned responsibility for the plan to the CEO. We tested the association between these planning characteristics in 2006 and two measures of financial performance for 2003. Three dimensions of the strategic planning process--having a strategic plan, assigning the CEO responsibility for the plan, and involving the board--are positively associated with earlier financial performance. Further longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the cause-and-effect relationship between planning and performance.