Rheumatology is at a critical juncture in our history. To advance into the future, the ACR must thoroughly prepare for changing political landscapes, emerging technologies and workforce challenges.
On May 12, the ACR Board of Directors met in Washington, D.C., to approve our ambitious new Strategic Plan for 2017–2022. This plan encompasses five strategic themes with quantifiable measurements, specific goals and detailed timelines.
This has been a true team effort. The Strategic Plan Task Force engaged in ideation workshops and member surveys to gather ideas and input, including a work session at the January Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta. We engaged Slalom, a consulting agency, to help us with this colossal endeavor.
Why should you be excited about our new strategic plan? For one, this plan is highly data driven. A strategic plan must be much more than a collection of lofty ideas on paper. We cannot merely hope to wind up halfway to our goals somewhere down the road. We face real challenges in uncertain, competitive times, so we must harness big and small data, craft truly strategic goals and incorporate incremental steps and ambitious timelines so we are where we need to be in five years.
Here are the five strategic themes the ACR board, staff and members will ambitiously pursue over the next five years:
- Data-Driven Approaches
We will incorporate data into our operations and mission-focused endeavors. We will expand and refine RISE, which is a CMS-approved, qualified clinical data registry. It already includes data on over 1 million patients, including more than 5 million patient encounters and growing. We will improve RISE to increase access and enrich its research applications.
- Increased Membership in Target Categories
The ACR must launch and complete a sophisticated needs assessment and engage in strategic marketing campaigns and membership drives. We are setting ambitious goals to expand and diversify our ranks.
- Education Enabled by Technology (How, Where & When Desired)
Medical education no longer exists just in the classroom or conference hall. Technology enables us to expand our educational offerings and make them more convenient to access. We will strive to create more offline and mobile-friendly education so rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals can learn on the go wherever they work or live.
- Personalized Content & Targeted Member Interactions
We will develop an advanced member management tool, as well as more targeted news, education and communications to our members so they are more meaningful and personalized.
- Sustained Future of Rheumatology
We must develop cutting-edge approaches to address our workforce gap and develop diverse leadership. We must also aggressively pursue advocacy goals for our members and ensure that our impact on rheumatology research is unparalleled in the world of medicine.
Strategic, Not Functional
One important distinction to note is that this is a strategic, rather than a functional, plan. A strategic plan clarifies our organizational priorities and provides focus. It is organization wide, not defined by our current organization design or staffing.