This paper discusses the strategic plans for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and proposed changes. TTUHSC is a teaching and research center recognized nationally for excellence in healthcare. Strategic planning is vital to help the institution to maintain being a leader in the healthcare industry. The paper focuses into the future planning that will boost services at the center by considering the current state of the institution in terms of existing strengths and future opportunities as well as threats and the areas that require improvement. The institution requires financial growth, innovativeness, and creativity in increasing their service lines, research, private health contracts and empowering people. TTUHSC requires being specific in its strategies to ensure more growth in patient care and satisfaction, financial sustainability and accountability and patient education. This way, the institution will be able to achieve its strategic goals hence remain a leader in patient care provision.
Healthcare providers play a critical role in a country's economy and the welfare of its citizens. Therefore, it is one of the most potent and highly regulated industries (Kash, Spaulding, Johnson & Gamm, 2014). A review for a balanced scorecard is essential for finding the potential weaknesses and seeking opportunities for improvement. This multi-campus organization has physician groups in Lubbock, Amarillo, Abilene, Odessa, Midland, and El Paso. Amarillo campus has approximately 750 employees and sees over 8000 patients per month (TTUHSC, 2018). The institution values not only their employees but also their patients and strives for excellence in patient care. TTUHSC teaches physicians of the future. With such a diverse patient population, the center guarantees that everyone from the staff and physicians to the residents and nurses will interact with a very wide demographic that allows interaction, learning, and growth for everyone (Smith & Loonam, 2016). As a research facility, TTUHSC is on the front lines of innovative advancements in treatment options, and this allows not only its patients to benefit from these advancements, but also all patients across the globe. It researches in all areas of healthcare, and that aspect is essential to its continued growth. The strategic plan and balanced scorecard analysis is critical in safeguarding the institution's future potential and escalating the current state to future prosperity.
The TTUHSC mission is to "enrich the lives of others by educating students to become collaborative health care professionals, provide excellent patient care and advancing the knowledge through innovative research" (TTUHSC, 2018). This statement lays the foundation for the institution's ethics in handling patients, employees and the public. Advancing knowledge is a bold statement and tells everyone that TTUHSC wants everyone to learn and grow from and with it.
The center's vision is to "strengthen its national reputation as it seeks to promote healthier communities across West Texas and beyond" (TTUHSC, 2018) and again this is a bold statement. To strengthen tells a person that the facility is there to make them better or stronger. This vision statement is in itself a clarifying moment for staff, patients and others to understand that TTUHSC is there to help them and its desire is for everyone to be better, stronger and happier in their lives.
TTUHSC's value includes "beyond service, kindhearted, integrity, and one team and visionary" (TTUHSC, 2018). The institution believes in serving their patients in a way that can be reciprocated to them. These beliefs and moral compass values can be seen in every person who works for, learns from and believes in TTUHSC. As a national leader among health science institutions of higher education, they are ethical in everything they do. TTUHSC employs a values-based organization, and it applies to all employees and students. The word "ethics" does not appear in these documents, but values are invariably ethical values (Kotalik, Covino, Doucette, Henderson, Langlois, McDaid & Pedri, 2014).
Current GapsThe current gaps for TTUHSC are few but very impactful for the future growth and stability. TTUHSC currently has clinics for surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. These clinics have multi-specialty and general clinicians in them and can handle a variety of patient issues. Amarillo campus does not have a Urology or ENT department, and this leaves a lot of patients going to other physicians and even other cities for these healthcare needs. The wait times in Amarillo for patients to utilize physicians for these services is months and even up to a year I some cases, and if it is a critical need, the patient must go to Lubbock, Dallas or Oklahoma City.
Another gap that the institution has is the issue of patients potentially seeing a different physician at every visit. Since TTUHSC is a teaching facility along with a clinic, patients see residents, and while this is good for the resident, it is not necessarily good for the patient. Advancements in patient care are a benefit for utilizing TTUHSC for their healthcare needs, but patients do not like the issue of going over all their healthcare needs at every visit. Patients want to know their provider and continuity of care is a concern for the patient when a different provider cares for them at each visit. The demand for affordable and quality healthcare services remains on the rise as patients want better health (Babalola, 2017).
One of the most significant advantages currently for TTUHSC is the ability to take payment from all payers. TTUHSC is presently one of the only groups that accept Medicare and Medicaid, and this is mostly due to the reimbursement rates of these payers. Amarillo has a very large Hispanic and Somalia patient population, and both of these demographics are typically on Medicaid. Medicare and Medicaid make up most of the payer mix for TTUHSC along with commercial payers and self-pay patients.
Another advantage is on-site lab and x-ray services which allows the providers to see a patient and order labs or x-rays and the patient does not have to go anywhere else for them. With specialty provider in OB, Internal, Surgery, Pediatric, and Family medicine, the whole family can be seen in one facility for all their general and special needs. The ability for any provider to order critical labs or x-rays immediately to ensure a patient is taken care of is essential for the patient's health and wellbeing.
The center also has a social services department on-site, and this ensures that whatever language a patient speaks, there will be someone who can communicate with them. The different types of languages that are seen in Amarillo are Swahili, Vietnamese, Arabic, Burmese Cantonese, to name a few and it utilizes interpretation services from a variety of agencies to include the Medicaid interpretation services. The institution has healthcare providers from all over the world, and this advantage helps to ensure that a patient can interact with someone, face to face, that speaks their language. This ability helps in giving the patient confidence in TTUHSC and aligns everyone with the institutional values.
Long-Term Opportunities and Operational Components
Long term opportunities for any organization require the organization to look at them with an honest eye. Opportunities are not only for the organization but should be for the employee if the organization wants to be sustainable. Employees do not leave organizations, they leave managers, and it is up to the managers to give them the opportunity to grow. Employee development is critical to retention, and the knowledge that long-term employees have for their organization is priceless. The cost to train a new employee far outweighs the cost to develop an existing employee. Development can be unilateral or specific for an area of an organization, and these are tools that enhance the worth of the employee to the organization. Development requires training, and this can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Classroom, online, conference and web-based training are all available for a variety of training needs for an organization. Traditional classroom training is what is offered for new employees or specialty courses, and TTUHSC will need to consider implementing specialized courses for those who like traditional models. As with any new product, training has a cost to it, and this cost will need to be evaluated for all learning options and a budget created to cover these expenses for the foreseeable future. Leadership and management are positively and significantly related to organizational performance (Mosadeghrad, 2015).
Additional long-term opportunities for TTUHSC are patient retention. Every time a patient comes in or leaves, it affects the bottom line of TTUHSC. While new patients bring in additional revenue, when a patient leaves, they take their revenue with them. As with employee retention, patient retention also relies on development. A provider must develop a relationship with the patient for security, continuity of care and long-term health of the patient (Kash, Spaulding, Johnson and Gamm, 2014).
Patients need to have the ability to be seen at a moment's notice, and currently, most providers see patients by appointment only. Access to their provider is vital to the health of the patient. One alternative strategy is open-access scheduling for TTUHSC. This strategy has been around for years but is getting a re-look due to patient needs. It would allow same day appointments as a patient may need; however, a provider may need to review the schedule until a need's guideline is established. Patient navigators or contact centers are alternatives that can be successful but tend to be expensive to implement.
Telehealth platforms offer health services via video-conferencing and have been very successful but limited in use to this point. Organizations realize that scheduling a patient week' in advance is not only impractical but illogical. Patients do not know when they are going to be sick, and patients always need access to their provider. Implementing a primary-care-based telehealth program is a strategy that will not only help the patient but bring in revenue from additional sources. Medicaid programs tend to cover telehealth programs more than Medicare does, but the future is sure to change this due to the needs of the patient.
TTUHSC will need to continue in improving health and boost healthcare access to communities in the area by providing community outreach services, of patient care, and growing the brand with innovative medical practices and research and focus more on the patient. The institution's growth strategy as lined out can change at a moments' notice,...
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