NKY Health’s Strategic Plan Road Map: Slight Detour to Final Destination

By Jonathan Vorbeck, MPH

The 2016-2020 NKY Health Strategic Plan resulted from a deliberate decision-making process in 2015 that defined where we believed our Health Department was going. The internal plan set a five-year direction for the organization and, through a common understanding of the mission, vision, core values and strategic priorities, serves as a foundational document for our staff and boards of health members to make informed decisions that move the Health Department forward.

In 2015, we could not have possibly known everything about what the next five years would bring (especially in public health!). Even though our 2018 midpoint implementation progress report indicated that a majority of our strategic plan objectives were progressing as expected, new information and changing resources have become critical to our operations. Therefore, we’ve quickly learned that the strategic plan is like a road map; sometimes you need to take a detour.

NKY Health Senior Staff and our District/Local boards of health understood that our original strategic plan needed a detour to address “roadblocks” (e.g., electronic health records), “unexpected lane closures” (e.g., restructuring of community services) and “new routes” (e.g., expansion of services/technology) experienced along the journey. As a result, an updated strategic plan was developed by NKY Health staff in early 2018 and approved by the District Board of Health on Sept. 12, 2018. The updated strategic plan continues to focus on the three initial strategic priorities — (1) addressing our pressing health issues, (2) telling people about our work, and (3) preparing for our future. However, it now includes five revised and nine new objectives/strategies addressing internal and external environmental changes.

Once the updated plan received the green light from our District Board of Health (DBOH), NKY Health strategically reviewed membership of the three existing strategic plan teams and made sure a topic expert staff member from each division/office of district director of health was placed into one of these three teams. This team structure also enhances cross-departmental collaboration among the different divisions within the Health Department. Like before, team members have been tasked to develop effective strategies to help meet each objective. Each team regularly updates their work plan, and documents what they have accomplished, what is in progress, what still needs to get done and what they might need to change. An updated status of each objective is reported at the quarterly internal Performance Improvement Council meetings and a quarterly progress report is presented at the DBOH meetings.

Although we experienced a slight detour in 2018, the updated NKY Health 2016-2020 Strategic Plan continues to serve as our agency’s road map. Right now, we are enjoying the scenic route and taking in the views from all angles. Regardless of which route we take to get to our final destination, it can be reassured that staff continue to be the driving force to make certain Northern Kentucky is the healthiest region in the nation.

A team member listing of each strategic priority is below. Special thanks to the team leaders who facilitate quarterly meetings, prepare agendas, meeting minutes and send out reminders to other staff team members.