A multi-billion dollar health system operating in multiple states was shifting its identity from an acute care hospital company to a fully integrated system to deliver population health management. Questions immediately arose about how the parts of the system—each with different competitive and regulatory challenges—could best collaborate to design and quickly implement a compelling strategic narrative and a set of shared strategic commitments.

The core challenge: how to engage the entire system in creating a strategy that could be put into place quickly, even as the competitive and legislative landscape was changing under the organization’s feet?

CFAR worked closely with leaders at the system, regional and local levels to articulate a strategy that made sense for the system as a whole, but that could be adapted locally to meet the unique needs of the diverse markets this organizations served. We started by uncovering the internal and external assumptions that administrative leaders, board members and physicians held about key shifts taking place in the broader healthcare environment. Over a period of three months, we engaged hundreds of administrative and clinical leaders throughout the system in a highly participatory strategic planning process that used CFAR’s Strategic Options tool, a customized online social media forum for ongoing input and feedback to the strategy, and a series of meetings that culminated in a Board of Trustees retreat where trustees from every hospital in the system came together to approve the plan.

The result was a well-founded system strategy with clear goals that people understood and endorsed, a platform for physician partnership, an understanding of how parts of the system related to the whole, and preparation for early implementation.

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