Strategic planning has been defined as the process by which a company or corporation determines its priorities as a means to direct decisions and resource allocation. Many of us have been involved in strategic planning exercises for our practices, departments, or health systems. They can vary in their depth, effectiveness, and even longevity. Unfortunately, all too often they rarely make it off the shelf once they are completed.
The ACR’s Strategic Plan has been the foundation by which we function as an organization. The current version was developed in 2014 and revised in 2017 (read the current Strategic Plan at acr.org/About-ACR). The Board and staff have used the document as a reference for almost every decision that they make. It has served us well in multiple aspects, including redirecting discussions towards the agreed-upon goals and priorities of the College.
We embarked on revisiting our Strategic Plan in early 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the process was deferred. However, we have resurrected the effort under the leadership of Alexander M. Norbash, MD, MS, FACR, Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, FACR, and ACR Vice President of Strategic Planning and Business Excellence Pamela Mechler, MS, CAE, who is guiding us through this important exercise. We are grateful to Drs. Norbash and Lexa for volunteering both their expertise and their time, despite having rotated off the BOC.
We elected to engage an outside facilitator to help us reach our goals. LBL Strategies has provided us with a framework to rigorously research, develop, and implement our plan. The first phase has been environmental assessment. We set a goal to cast a wide net with input from both internal and external stakeholders. Special emphasis was placed on reaching out to early-career radiologists for their thoughts and perspectives — given that they have the longest investment in the direction of the profession. An analysis of the macroenvironment included looking at environmental, technological, and economic forces, along with sociocultural, political, and regulatory trends. Considerations for the microenvironment included such factors as members/stakeholders/customers, competitors, other radiology societies, state of the industry/healthcare sector, patients, and healthcare systems.
The strategic management performance system we are implementing is an ongoing loop for feedback and process to drive the ACR forward in achieving the desired future goals.
Our environmental assessment analysis was especially rigorous with input from more than 1,000 ACR members and other key stakeholders. It included a comprehensive survey to all members and non-members in our database (adding up to more than 39,000 recipients), with responses received from 842 members and 137 non-members.
Interviews, a visioning session, scenario-based planning, and focus groups involved more than 90 ACR members, 58 ACR staff, and 52 external stakeholders — including ten leaders from other societies, nine industry representatives, and six patient advocates.
The next phase of our process will be strategy formulation, which will include determining our strategic direction and establishing strategic goals. We are aiming to finalize the formalized portion of our Strategic Plan at the ACR’s October Board meeting. We will be sure to communicate the results to our members and other stakeholders via the Bulletin and other communications. However, the work does not stop there. An important analysis will involve aligning the resources we need to operationalize the plan.
The last phase will be execution. The Strategic Plan and strategy map provide a roadmap to ensure there is alignment in the organization and a framework to guide implementation that will determine our success.
Most importantly, we are committed to self-evaluation and performance management. We must be constantly measuring performance and outcomes. We have to continue learning and adapting as the environment changes and we realize the results of our efforts. The strategic management performance system we are implementing is an ongoing loop for feedback and process to drive the ACR forward in achieving the desired future goals.
The College is dedicated to moving ahead in a purposeful and intentional direction to provide value for our members and leadership for our profession. This new Strategic Plan will provide our collective focus as we invest ACR resources, staff, and volunteerism to advance the impact of medical imaging and intervention in the healthcare of our patients.