AAMI News March 2020

Career Center: Six Steps for Strategic Planning

Samantha Jacques
Samantha Jacques, PhD, FACHE, is vice president of clinical engineering at McLaren Health Care in Mount Blanc, MI, and a member of the BI&T (Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology) Editorial Board.

As we start a new decade, now is a great time to reassess and develop a strategic plan for your company or department. Often, we get so caught up in the day-to-day cycle of meeting the needs of our organizations that we forget to take time to step back and look at the “big picture.”

This exercise of assessment and strategy development can help anyone working in health technology to identify big picture goals and make strides in moving their department to the next level.

Here are six basic steps to complete a strategic planning cycle:

  1. Create, validate, or modify the vision, mission, and guiding principles of your department. Make sure this aligns with the vision of your hospital/health system.
  2. Evaluate and understand the environment and trends in both your local areas and national trends.
  3. Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) for your department.
  4. Develop goals, strategies, and actions. Start with overarching three-to-five–year strategic goals and break them down to annual goals and actions to ensure you have solid tactics to meet your goals. Make sure these goals align with your vision/mission and consider your environment and SWOT analysis.
  5. Execute and manage your strategy and actions. We need to measure to make sure it’s happening!
  6. Assess and adjust the plan through ongoing process improvement measures. Just because you’ve planned for three to five years doesn’t mean the environment or situation doesn’t change over time. Adjust your plans as needed. This process doesn’t require any funding to complete but can improve your department considerably. Take time to set your department on a great path!

A Closer Look at SWOT Analysis


This diagram breaks down the elements of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis—one of the main tasks in Samantha Jacques’ design for a strategic planning cycle.

SWOT Analysis
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