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Introduction

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"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

—LARRY ELDER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST

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This chapter discusses the key components of planning a performance-improvement program deployment. The improvement opportunities identified in the assess phase are prioritized based on organizational impact and then scheduled based on resource availability. A deployment plan is developed that details the way forward for improvement opportunities, communication and training plans, and metrics to measure the overall success of the deployment. Team members are identified, and delivery of just-in-time training for the selected improvement opportunities is accomplished.

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Why Plan?

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No one denies that planning is necessary, but how it is done is open to a broad range of approaches and opinions. Some contend that Frederick Taylor's seminal work on scientific management is the basis of all business planning. In the book, Business Planning, Darren O'Connor describes a direct linkage from the basic tenets of management science to business planning:

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  • Analysis

  • Decomposition

  • Efficiency

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These three tenets were incorporated into the early strategic planning processes developed by the U.S. military and later incorporated into the corporate world. They are equally applicable in healthcare. One way to view planning is that the future will only become reality by envisioning it, preparing for it, and executing it, as Rick Page observed in the book, Hope Is Not a Strategy. In many instances—especially in healthcare—the gap is in operational planning. An effective plan must be what Andrew Green calls a "blueprint for action" in An Introduction to Health Planning for Developing Health Systems.

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Creating this "blueprint for action" requires the commitment, time, and effort of providers. By investing these in planning, time is taken away from patient care, managing staff, balancing budgets, and an endless list of other responsibilities described by William Sibbald and Thomas Massaro in The Business of Critical Care: A Textbook for Clinicians Who Manage Special Care Units.

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Competition between these critical components of leadership's day-to-day duties is one of the primary reasons performance-improvement deployments fail. Without executive involvement and commitment, there can be no plan. Without a plan, action lacks focus and structure. Without focus and structure, true success cannot be achieved.

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Deploying performance improvement in healthcare organizations is a complex and time-consuming process. It requires a certain level of planning to ensure success. When deploying a successful performance-improvement program, it is important that things be done in a certain order. While somewhat flexible, the order will ensure that the deployment has a solid foundation.

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A great way to envision the order is to look at the sequence shown in the progression along the performance-improvement maturity model. Completing these steps requires oversight and active management.

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Timeline

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Once again, using the performance-improvement maturity model as a basis, Figure 5.1 shows a ...

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