Clinical Service Planning
Health services need to undertake a broad range of planning activities to meet their future service obligations, including strategic planning, service planning, workforce planning, business and operational planning and many others. Clinical service planning involves the leadership team from the governing body of the health service such as the Board and Executive, collection and interpretation of current and forecast data, and internal and external stakeholder consultation, to develop a guiding document that informs planning for a defined period, and aligns with the other health service planning processes.
Clinical service planning requires an understanding of the demographic and population characteristics of the local community; the utilisation patterns of local health services; the effectiveness of the existing health service profile in meeting community requirements; service gaps that may exist either currently or in the future; and how services may be developed to address those gaps. Service planning involves an assessment of health service self-sufficiency, capability and capacity, both broadly from a health service perspective, and from an individual clinical service and unit perspective.
Clinical service planning considers not only how clinical services have already developed over time, and how they should respond to future challenges, but where they should be located, and the infrastructure and resources that should support them. Health service partnerships are an important component of health service planning that allows for access to resources and expertise in a resource-constrained environment. Risk, both clinical and financial, are also assessed in determining clinical service priorities. Once finalised, a clinical service plan should be regularly reviewed, and the implementation of new clinical services or models of care should be evaluated, to ensure that the required outcomes are being achieved.
KeywordsClinical services planning Strategic planning in healthcare Population health Capability frameworks in healthcare Role delineation in healthcare Demand in healthcare
The author’s knowledge of this topic was significantly informed by collaboration regarding development of the Peninsula Health Strategic Clinical Services Plan 2015–2025, in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Health, Capital Projects and Service Planning Unit; www.capital.health.vic.gov.au, and in particular the advice of Narelle Campbell, Project Manager, South Eastern Service Planning Unit Department of Health & Human Services.
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