Ophthalmology Business

FEB 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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Your ophthalmology practice needs a strategic business plan by Mark E. Kropiewnicki, JD, LLM W hen was the last time your ophthalmology practice revised its strategic business plan? If your answer is "years ago," or "what business plan?" your practice is either standing still or losing ground as others progress toward the future. A good strategic business plan assesses the current practice situation, enumerates issues to be addressed, determines a course of action, provides for monitoring of progress, and leaves room for adjustments to cover otherwise "unforeseen" circumstances or complications. With all the changes occasioned by healthcare reform, accountable care organizations (ACOs), aging patients, more physicians being employed by large healthcare entities, and other changes, some foreseeable, some not, now more than 14 ever before it is essential for ophthalmology practices to seek whatever advantages they can and to differentiate themselves to retain and attract patients. Real world business owners devote much time and energy to structuring and planning the direction of their companies. Ophthalmology practice owners would be wise to do the same. It makes good business sense. Here are some useful thoughts to help ophthalmology practice owners revise or develop a viable strategic business plan to better run their practices and contend with all the coming changes. What is a strategic business plan? A strategic business plan is an internal practice document that: • outlines the ophthalmology practice's overall direction, philosophy, and purpose; Ophthalmology Business eZine • February 2013 • examines and evaluates the practice's current situation in terms of its strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (classic SWOT analysis); • establishes long-term objectives or goals for the practice; and • devises short-term strategies to reach the practice's long-term objectives/goals. Without a strategic business plan, you will either be forced to take a reactive stance, responding ad hoc to developments and overtures generated by other entities, or you will forge ahead proactively, but virtually blindly, guided by instinct alone. On the other hand, with a well thought-out strategic business plan, your practice will approach the future proactively and according to a measured set of actions. The principal issue is simple, but vital: Who will control your future? The answer should be "you." The typical strategic business plan lays out, step by step, the process by which a practice achieves its goals, whether dealing with expanding the practice, increasing revenues, improving patient care, merging practices together, joining an ACO, going to work for a hospital, simply keeping the practice functioning, or whatever goals you establish. If your practice does not have such a plan, institute one. A comprehensive strategic business plan cannot guarantee success, but having one—assuming that it is well thought-out, flexible, implemented faithfully, and adjusted correctly when necessary—definitely improves your chances of future success. Back to TOC

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