Do any of you have a strategic five/ten year plan? You should hold physician retreats annually and plan into the future – even if you are solo practitioner. The retreat should create a summary of items/projects for follow up and implementation throughout the year.
During these times of changes, I have seen many physician practices create a 3 year plan. Many of these plans are based on SWOT. A SWOT looks internal-to-internal (or some external). A similar growth plan is created for new doctors, offices, etc. based on PEST. A PEST looks external-to-internal: Political, Economic, Social, and Technological. Along with these plans is a future staffing projection.
Since the increasingly significant threats to specialty practices are external: decreasing reimbursement, scarcity of physicians/trained staff, regulations, increasing costs such as insurance coverages; I think a PEST analysis for planning is increasing important rather than just role the external forces all into the "T" of SWOT.
PEST helps to re-enforce to the physicians that the external factors are real and beyond internal control no matter how good management is.