Setting ASC Goals for the New Year

It's the time of year when everyone is thinking about New Year's Resolutions and having goals for the coming year. Setting goals for the New Year promotes a positive atmosphere and encourages a team outlook at your ASC. Naturally, you want your goals for 2022 to also create positive surgical outcomes. But how do you determine a tangible goal or set of goals for your Ambulatory Surgery Center?

Create a Vision

Before setting specific goals, which are clear and limited in scope, create a vision for where you want your ASC to be at the end of the coming year. A vision doesn’t have to be concrete. Perhaps your vision is to improve community outreach or improve scheduling options. Your ASC may have a vision of becoming the leader in your area for certain types of procedures. You can achieve your vision by reaching specific goals that are concrete and specific in nature.

Crafting Achievable Goals

To set goals your ASC can realistically achieve, keep a few things in mind. Each goal should meet these crucial criteria:

  • Have a specific end date. If you have an end date for each goal, your team will be more apt to keep it fresh in their minds. It’s easy to keep pushing back efforts to achieve a goal if there is no “due date.”
  • Make sure your goals are achievable. Saying you want to reach a 30% increase in outpatient procedures by the end of the year sounds great, but unless you add the additional staff and resources needed, your goal becomes a burden no one wants to assume. 
  • Be specific. "We want our ASC to add two nurses to the staff by June," or "Our ASC will have a continuing education program for surgical procedures in place that is free to employees" are reasonable goals. "We want to hire more people" or "We plan to offer more educational opportunities" are not specific enough to be realistically achieved and don't have an end that indicates the goal has been reached. If you can't ever complete a goal, you won't know if you've achieved your vision.
  • Assess periodically. Some goals can be evaluated at a monthly staff meeting, while others may only need to be reviewed quarterly. Gauge how long it will take to effectively move toward a goal in order to determine a realistic assessment schedule.
  • Add some short-term goals. A short-term goal should be smaller in scale and focus on quickly and easily achievable ends. One or two goals that can be achieved in 4-6 weeks will boost morale and encourage your staff to stay on track with long-term goals.
  • Include a long-term vision as well. A vision for the year can lead to a larger one that focuses on where you want your ASC to be in five years.

Include Your Staff in Determining Goals

Once you have a vision outlined for your Ambulatory Surgery Center, ask for input from your employees. They are the ones who are “in the trenches” and may suggest goals you haven't thought about. While looking at the big picture, they see the snapshots of daily ASC activities. They can suggest practical and efficient goals to get the ASC closer to the vision. Establishing goals based on input from your staff will result in better outcomes and ensure that everyone is enthusiastic about making changes.

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