A strong understanding of the business and financial implications of a practice change effort is critical. If you don’t understand the business case for your innovation, it is unlikely that you will be able to persuade decision makers and others to support it. A business plan describes this case and serves as an extension of your value proposition. While a value proposition briefly describes the benefits of an intervention or practice change idea over current care or competing ideas, a business case goes much further, representing a more complete vision for your idea. A strong business case will provide convincing, objective information that clearly explains how you and your team can execute this idea and deliver on the promise of your innovation.
Contents of a Business Case/Plan
A business plan has several important elements including:
- Overview/Rationale for the intervention: This describes the problem you will solve and provides a brief review of the innovation and its critical components.
- Value Proposition: A crisp statement of the benefits of the new idea versus current practice or competing approaches. More details here.
- Environmental Analysis: A view of both external and internal environments, which should provide compelling evidence of the need for the innovation.
- The Team: Who is involved in the planning and execution of the work.
- Logistics: A detailed explanation of how of the intervention works.
- An Implementation Plan including a timeline and key milestones.
- Key Performance Indicators: Data that describes how you will measure the value of the offering (to staff, patients, the organization).
- Financial Summary: An outline of the cost savings and/or revenue implications of the innovation, program or service.
Beyond the Basics, What Makes a Good Business Case Stand Out?
- It will consider best and worst case scenarios.Ideally, even the worst case scenario should be better than the status quo.
- It will explain how each element of the project contributes to the end result.
- It will provide Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for all benefits of the project. Even if a benefit is secondary, there should be clarity around the expected results and how they will be assessed over time.
- It will evaluate the risk of not implementing the change.There may be financial or other consequences of staying with current practice. These should be explained,
- It will be clearly aligned with the organization’s strategic goals.
- The Bridgespan Group offers a useful guide for understanding this process in “Business Planning for Nonprofits: What It Is and Why It Matters"
- The Nonprofits Assistance Fund offers a nonprofit business plan template, which can be adapted for health care settings, listing the section names and suggested content.
- This helpful brief from the California Collaborative includes many of the elements of a business case and is specifically focused on issues that matter to The John A. Hartford Foundation Change Agents: Building the Business Case: Community Organizations Responding to the Changing Healthcare Environment for Aging Populations
- A helpful example from The University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center emphasizes the bottom-line benefits as part of a convincing business case for Adopting the Chronic Care Model.