Goal-setting for independent practices

Independent physicians who are busy with the day-to-day activities of seeing patients, managing the practice, and coordinating with other healthcare providers may not give much thought to goals for the practice. However, even though an independent practice is certainly not like most other businesses, it does need to determine and work toward those goals to ensure its future growth and success.

An independent practice should set goals and determine strategies to reach those goals as part of an overall vision. This can be done in a strategic planning process for the organization as a whole. The first step in that process is to decide, as the independent physician, where the practice needs to or wants to be within certain timeframes. For example, goals can be set based on where the practice wants to be in the next year and then again in the next three to five years.

As a recent article in Physicians Practice detailed, the longer term vision “might describe the practice broadly, in terms of its mix of programs, reputation or status inside and outside its primary target community, key accomplishments, and relationships with referring physicians.”

Goals might include:

  • Expansion of target geographic market
  • Expansion of target patient makeup
  • Growth of patient numbers
  • Staff expansion plans
  • Implementation of IT tools such as electronic health records (EHRs) 
  • Expansion of provider referral group
  • Improved communications with patients and other providers
  • Other relevant measurements of growth and success for the practice

These goals should be shared with the independent practice staff, to ensure all are aware of the vision and strategy for achieving the goals. Uniting the independent practice team to work towards specific goals will help the practice better visualize the possibilities – and then take the necessary steps to make those possibilities realities. The practice, the physician, the staff, and the patients will all benefit from the newly directed focus and strategy.