Do You Have a Winning Strategy? Create Strategic Goals with a Purpose

Healthcare is a business, an essential service that millions of people access daily. As such healthcare organizations need to be able to scale and grow to meet this demand, a challenging task in a rapidly changing industry. The key to running a winning business is strategic alignment, according to Jonathan Trevor and Barry Varcoe writing for the Harvard Business Review. Strategic alignment is the alignment of all aspects of a company, from its structure to short and long-term goals. 

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Bone and Joint Center (BJC) stated mission is to provide outstanding patient care and shaping tomorrow's health care system through innovation, research, and education through Patient and Family Centered Care. The primary patient population the BJC serves are people who have reduced mobility as a result of bone and joint disease. Arthritis, Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis specifically are diseases that notoriously cause confusion for both providers and patients because of their complexities in the context of multimorbidity and how it’s communicated with patients (understanding disproportianate symptoms and pain based on sex and race). For example, there is an 8% disparity between women and men that suffer from arthritis. And of the 10 million Americans that suffer from osteoporosis, 80% are women and African-American women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than white women with higher prevalence of severe pain. As part of the BJC and UPMC’s mission the Center for Bone and Joint Health was launched to address disparities in Bone and Joint Health through person-centered care and education.  

Trevor and Varcoe describe in their The Foundation of Initiatives as the fulfillment of a purpose and support from within the organization. The purpose of providing a more welcoming and comfortable hospital environment is to ease patients and dispel the stereotype that receiving care is akin to listening to a lecture. Instead, patient care should follow a holistic approach of education and communication. This initiative is supported throughout the organization with the goal that the BJC is able to attract patients, prevent disease with education and individualized care and set a precedent for other healthcare organizations. 

An organization’s short and long term goals can be categorized into these 4 matrices:

  • Aligned with the organization's long-term purpose and capabilities; highest chance of success.
  • Aligned with the organization's long-term purpose and not with its capabilities; great intention but not feasible.
  • Not aligned with the organization's long-term purpose and aligned with its capabilities; boldly going nowhere.
  • Not aligned with the organization's long-term purpose or capabilities; slim chances. 

The BJC’s aim is to educate patients about preventive care and provide two-way communication to facilitate collaborative partnership in care. Through asking the question “What Matters to You?” (WMTY), this opens a path to determine what excellent patient care means by elevating patient voices and including them in their care. Preventive care and patient education are at the core of the BJC’s and UPMC’s mission. The BJC incorporates shadowing as a tool to highlight bright spots and pinpoint areas for improvement. Elements such as patient experience, clinical environment, and procedural testings offer insight into a patient’s perspective. 

Organization goals that align with both purpose and capability not only encourages internal support from leadership, but will also contribute to furthering the organization’s growth. The success of the Center for Bone and Joint Health can be attributed to its foundational principles of patient-centered care and co-design, whose values align with the UMPC’s overall mission of providing outstanding patient care and constant evolution and growth to improve people’s health. 

Want to learn more about how to improve your company’s strategic alignment? Check out goShadow’s What Matters to You? toolkit and Shadowing toolkit to learn more about identifying organizational goals and developing an action plan. Find out more about our toolkits on our website and get in touch.

Source: A simple way to test your company's strategic alignment. Harvard Business Review. (2017, October 5). Retrieved March 18, 2022, from 

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Posted on

March 18, 2022