Fall 2006 - Vol.1, No.2
Journey Toward Greatness
Thomas C. Paisley

Executive Vice President, Lancaster General


Lancaster General recently completed the most comprehensive, rigorous, and participative planning process it has ever undertaken, culminating in June with approval by the Board of Directors of a plan that sets the health system’s strategic direction for the next three to five years. The planning process affirmed the Lancaster General mission to advance the health and well being of the communities of Lancaster, which means that our services in Lancaster will be comprehensive. This broad view of our role also means that in order to provide certain sophisticated clinical services for the people of Lancaster, selected programs will be developed with sufficient distinction to attract the necessary patient base from the surrounding region. Our mission is grounded on our values that were also reaffirmed in the planning process: Quality Outcomes, Customer Service, Respect for the Individual, Personal Responsibility and Teamwork.


While these fundamental guiding elements have not changed radically, Lancaster General’s leadership has

committed to a new bold vision – to create an extraordinary healthcare experience…every time. This vision is intended to refocus our entire organization away from the traditional view of care as a fragmented series of isolated events, to a seamless care process that incorporates and harmonizes all the system’s elements for delivering services. Now, when we consider the experience we provide, our orientation moves toward a holistic view that embraces not only positive clinical outcomes, but also such elements as confidence in the safety of care, convenience, positive personal interactions, and even the basics of ease of parking and finding one’s way.


The concept of the “experience” goes well beyond quality and service, to incorporate every dimension from the first contact onward. Very few health systems in the United States are positioned to pursue such a far reaching vision. Lancaster General’s future strategic direction is embodied in the five core strategic areas: Human Capital, Service Mix and Markets, Physician Relations, Quality Experience, and Mission/Citizenship. These were identified by the senior leadership, and developed over a 10 week period by multi-disciplinary groups assigned to each strategy. Finally, they were affirmed by 120 of Lancaster General’s Board, physician, and executive leaders at a conference at the Hotel Hershey in April.


The human capital strategy recognizes the need to assure a workforce that is highly skilled and motivated to share the commitment to the experience vision. Service mix and markets strategy provides the guidance to assure that the needs of the community will be met effectively, and that we continue to manage our growth. The physician relations strategy draws attention to the critical interdependence of Lancaster General and its affiliated physicians in achieving the system’s mission and vision. The quality experience strategy specifically looks at ways to build on the success already achieved in documented outcomes across the health system by developing a more robust infrastructure. The mission/citizenship strategy focuses on the need to demonstrate community benefit by providing collaborative leadership.


Oversight of each strategy will be the responsibility of a Board level committee that will regularly monitor and report on progress. The Strategic Development Committee will assume the role of coordinating the oversight process and keeping the Lancaster General Board up to date. The core strategies are augmented by supporting strategies in six functional areas: capital and finance, facilities, information services, marketing, fund development and organizational structure. Plans developed in these supporting areas will be guided by a member of the senior leadership team. In brief, the core and supporting strategies will be

integrated with the existing short term planning processes over the next several months through the use of goalsetting, dashboards, budgeting, and capital allocation.

Beyond the mechanics of implementing a strategy with a multi-year planning horizon, the challenge remains to align the entire enterprise with the mission and vision set forth by the system’s leadership. Lancaster General is a large and rapidly growing organization that impacts the lives of many people every day. Our culture thrives on achieving excellence by responding to the challenge to be great. With the focused efforts of our people, there is no doubt that this new bold vision will become a reality.