Master Planning is Dead – Pivotal Brings Planning to Life

Healthcare is a complex and diverse business enterprise constantly in flux. New legislation, shifting reimbursement structures, evolving technologies, changing consumer preferences and fluctuating real estate values are just some of the forces reshaping the industry. In this dynamic context, healthcare organizations struggle to anticipate which investments will have long-term value for the health system and its community. To bring the necessary clarity, many systems choose to engage a set of consultants to create a facilities investment roadmap, or “master plan.” These documents are the product of an exhaustive process, one that usually encompasses many months of effort and seeks to aggregate an extensive amount of organizational and market data. A comprehensive plan can propose many great ideas and contain valuable data, usually depicted in a beautiful and tantalizing manner, yet there is an inherent flaw in the process.

Master Planning is Dead

A master plan document is a static representation of an organizational strategy, which addresses dynamic market conditions identified as part of the effort. Soon after completion, market conditions, key personnel or strategic drivers shift and render the master plan nearly obsolete. Many organizations know this fact, as they have invested large sums of money to produce master plans intended to be long-term road maps, only to shelve them shortly after delivery of the final document.

What if there was an alternative to this risk-laden approach? One which allows for the creation of dynamic data structures and for the establishment of evaluation matrices with sufficient “feedback” mechanisms in order to continuously simulate, at nearly real time, the potential organizational impact of both market flux and organizational shifts. Array Advisors has contemplated this question and challenged our thought leaders to solve this complex problem.

Using lean principles, we re-examined the core value proposition of a master planning effort. In a dynamic context, the most valuable outcome (product) from an intensive exploration into a healthcare organization’s current state physical and operational models, the foundation of a typical master planning process, is the deep knowledge of the organization’s current capacity to provide clinical services, and the support, both in terms of operations and physical assets, necessary to provide those services.

Heat MapsIt is this understanding that becomes the basis for the creation of future state investigations and scenarios. We understand that the near and long-term needs of the health system will shift in relation to the dynamics of the business landscape and to the evolutionary nature of complex organizations. To better serve our clients, our team has designed a data mining and aggregation platform that actively collects information critical to strategic decision support; enables decision modeling and scenario testing; and, tracks the performance of initiatives or investments over time. We call this platform Pivotal. We recognize the need to actively manage physical assets, and that real estate strategy must evolve in order to ensure optimal performance. Instead of providing a static representation of current capacity and projected needs, our service focuses on providing digital structures, or “Decision Platforms”, that drive active management; provide metrics for performance evaluation and optimization; and, form the foundation of strategy creation and evolution. Utilizing Pivotal, our clients end up with a strategic plan that is as dynamic as the markets in which they operate.

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