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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't let your Strategic Plan stand in the way of a Good Colonoscopy Joke

Anyone involved in strategic planning has learned that nothing can paralyze a planning process like trying to distinguish between a vision, strategies, and objectives. One simple way of distinguishing between those three could be:

Vision: #1 market share in the colonoscopy market
Strategy: Attract new patients with our outstanding facilities
Objective: Clean instruments at least 3 times a day

The paralysis comes when someone wonders if cleaning the instruments could be a strategy and the objective could be to purchase organic bleach. Some other genius will confuse a vision statement for a marketing slogan like "Your bottom is our top priority". Then the finance guy in the room will want every objective to have an ROI or they just can't support it. At this point, the strategic planning department has decided to just hire a consulting firm for next year's strategic planning process.

I bring this up because obviously I'm still scarred by some of my planning offsites and because I am reviewing the strategic priorities that form the pillars of this blog. They are pretty well mapped out on the right below the picture of the photo shopped purple baby hedge hog (It's really photo shop, I did not dye a hedge hog purple) as health policy, MBA admissions, knitting, and the Pacific Northwest. From my my tags, I have done an excellent job with health policy with 76 tags for "health care" and 44 tags for "reform" and with the MBA admissions process with 45 tags for "MBA experience" and 14 tags for "MBA admissions". I am pretty good with "Pacific Northwest" with 26 tags and lagging a little bit with knitting which only has 6 tags.

Given how remiss I have been with tales of knitting, I wonder if I should evaluate the strategy of my blog. Two other objectives (or are they tactics?) is to make as many colonoscopy and animal husbandry jokes as possible. I have always considered colonoscopies to be an objective under my health care posts but some recent data has caused me to reconsider. It turns out that I have 10 posts with the word "colonoscopy" in them and one of my more popular posts has colonoscopy in the title!

Some recent developments in my company's discussion around health reform implementation has spurned this strategic evaluation. The conversation has slowly risen up to the top before traveling tranversely and going down (I am foreshadowing). Health Reform requires the coverage of preventive services that receive an A or B on the US Task Force. Most of these preventive services like prenatal services or glaucoma screenings are already covered at a low cost by most health plans. However, this is causing all health plans to look at colonoscopies, an A rated preventive service, in a whole new light. Previously, health plan member could pay 20% of the cost which could be $250-$400. Under reform, colonoscopies would be free. This is causing a lot of discussion at health plans and a lot of colonoscopy double entendre like:
1. We really need to probe this issue and flush everything out.
2. Have we found everything and searched all the dark pockets?
3. Do we need to dig deeper?
4. Let's make this process as smooth as possible.
5. I think that I see the light at the end of the tunnel

It became impossible for someone to even say, "As a (w)hole, the colonoscopy benefit will change" without half the room falling on the floor in laughter. Finally, a regulatory staff member commented that he been eating, breathing, and drinking health reform, no one needed to finish the sentence on what else he was doing with health reform after all that eating.

For all of us who are taking health reform very seriously and working very hard to understand it, there is always time for a good colonoscopy joke. I may need to look at the role of colonoscopies in my blog's strategy. However, there are actually 12 posts about animal husbandry which may be a future topic.


nisha said...

You got so many points here, that's why i love reading your blog. Thank you so much!

Deadhedge said...

Thanks, nisha, glad that you enjoy reading it.

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