The Northern Regional Medical Command (NRMC) Office of the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) is a team of high caliber military and civilian leaders tasked with deploying and supporting the use of information technology across 33 hospitals and clinics up and down the Eastern seaboard and extending as far West as the Mississippi River. This monumental task requires a sound strategic plan. Beyond simply building a plan, a process to facilitate execution of that strategic plan while simultaneously building workforce capabilities was undertaken.

NRMC CMIO began development of a strategic plan in October 2013. They conducted a strategic planning off-site incorporating a project identification selection workshop to brainstorm initiatives/projects to close identified gaps in meeting strategic objectives. Lean Six Sigma tools were used throughout the strategic planning activities resulting in value-added outputs.

Preparation for the off-site included staff members reading key documents to include: The Army Medicine 2020 Campaign Plan, The Information Management/Information Technology Campaign Plan 2020, Army Medicine CIO Themes to IMIT Strategic Metrics Matrix, IMIT Key Performance Indicators, the NRMC Balanced Scorecard, and the CMIO strategic documents from the previous strategic planning session. The purpose for the pre-work was to set the stage to cascade CMIO strategy from higher headquarters’ strategic plans and ensure alignment with their intent.

During the off-site session, staff reviewed and made minor updates to the mission, vision and goals. The focus then shifted to conducting brainstorming activities to glean the strengths and opportunities of the NRMC’s military treatment facilities and the region as a whole. Brainstormed ideas were then grouped together in an affinity diagram. This information was captured and the session came to a close.

Multi-voting/nominal group technique was conducted electronically by each staff member to vote on the importance for each initiative. The mean was calculated for each initiative and a benefits and efforts matrix was created documenting the results. During follow-up meetings team leads were assigned for each initiative. Each lead developed SIPOCs and/or quad charts with charter information for each initiative. Priorities were reassessed based on a clearer definition and understanding of each initiative. Initiatives were then classified as just-do-its (4) and DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) (3) projects. Team leads were tasked to complete A3 thinking model templates for the just-do-its.

Four staff members were identified to become Black Belt candidates to work the DMAIC projects and slated to attend training in April and June 2014. A certified Black Belt attended Master Black Belt training and was assigned the responsibility of mentoring the Black Belt candidates with oversight from the CMIO certified Master Black Belt. Training and certification of staff gives the CMIO the capability to identify future continuous process improvement opportunities using proven methodologies to make improvements and monitor for sustainment.

Microsoft InfoPath was used to create the CMIO project charter template to capture the critical elements required in a charter and signature capability to have documented approval of the project by the project sponsor; Belt candidate acknowledgement of the project intent; and the Belt candidate’s supervisor agreeing to dedicate time for the Belt candidate to complete the project.

A Microsoft SharePoint site was created to capture all identified projects resulting in a process for team leads to document and provide real time updates and facilitate the briefing process at CMIO and CIO meetings. This site also provides a snapshot of the status of a project following the red, amber, green methodology which allows the project sponsor to identify projects where higher level assistance may be needed to move the project forward.

A continuous process improvement SOP was developed defining the CMIO intent to tie into the strategic goals. The SOP outlines process steps for strategic planning process, identification/clarification of roles and responsibilities of staff (RACI chart), project identification, charter development, project approval, scope control and reporting mechanisms that include quarterly internal performance reviews.

A survey was given to the staff to assess the value of conducting strategic planning sessions in this manner. The survey results displayed staff satisfaction with this process with recommended improvements.

This model for strategic planning is easily replicated and will be used to facilitate the NRMC HQS ACSIM Strategic Planning Session.

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