In my health care organization, I would implement the balanced scorecard planning tool. This tool was initially developed as an instrument of evaluation, i.e. it was used to assess how well an organization performs on different levels, including departmental and corporate. However, evaluation carried out by means of the balanced scorecard is meant to be rather formative than summative, i.e. it shows what should be improved in an organization and provides recommendations. The main benefit of introducing the balanced scorecard is that it facilitates strategic development because it ensures that everything an organization does contributes to achieving strategic goals; therefore, the system allows seeing what is unnecessary and eliminating it (Grigoroudis, Orfanoudaki, & Zopounidis, 2012).
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To implement the tool, I would primarily develop a list of criteria specific to every department of my health care organization. All the objectives should be aligned with strategic priorities, and it is important to establish targets, i.e. what performance is expected and pursued, and to define initiatives, i.e. certain steps that should be made to achieve the targets. I think the use of the balanced scorecard can help combine all the efforts made by an organization to ensure that it is moving toward its strategic goals and does not waste resources on anything that does not promote its development.
In the context of strategic planning, it should be acknowledged that there are different areas of planning that might require different approaches. I think that, in long-term care organizations, quality and value is the area in which strategic efforts are most relevant. Quality of care is a complex notion, and various approaches exist to defining and evaluating it, but what can be definitively affirmed is that the quality of care in a health care organization cannot be continuously improved unless the organization’s management and leadership consider in their planning all the strengths and weaknesses of their facility as well as competitor facilities and look ahead in the future, i.e. unless they commit to strategic development (Grol, Wensing, Eccles, & Davis, 2013). Planning quality improvement at the local level is challenging due to the need to profoundly understand and regulate the inner operation of health care organizations; regional-level planning can be challenging due to the need to understand the connections among health care organizations; and the main challenge of planning at the national level is that various factors need to be considered that influence health care—such factors as technological development and new achievements of health care research.
In quality improvement evaluation, the key consideration is establishing what constitutes the successful performance of an organization. How would one know if a health care organization is performing well? Ackley, Ladwig, and Makic (2016) identify several components of quality of care shown in Figure 1.
According to my personal experience, health care organizations, in the evaluation of their own performance, often rely on operation criteria, data from the human resources department, and population-wide health statistics. However, I think that, in patient-centered models of health care, patient feedback should be the main source of data for the analysis of a health care organization’s successfulness. I believe that patient satisfaction is the most important evaluation criterion. However, it should not be overlooked that many different factors may affect patient satisfaction, which is why a strategic approach to improving this indicator should be adopted. For example, some health care organizations put emphasis on a mix of products and services, which practically means increasing the diversity of what an organization offers to patients. To ensure that this is done strategically, an organization should take into consideration its competitive advantages and disadvantages and the further development of the industry instead of being guided by short-term goals.
Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., & Makic, M. B. F. (2016). Nursing diagnosis handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Grigoroudis, E., Orfanoudaki, E., & Zopounidis, C. (2012). Strategic performance measurement in a healthcare organisation: A multiple criteria approach based on balanced scorecard. Omega, 40(1), 104-119.
Grol, R., Wensing, M., Eccles, M., & Davis, D. (Eds.). (2013). Improving patient care: The implementation of change in health care. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.