With a rich history, Salus University continues its strive to be the “future of health science” education and recently completed a scenario planning process in order to remain at the forefront of the modern delivery of education across various models.
By definition, scenario planning is a structured way for organizations to think long-term, making assumptions on what the future may look like through different scenarios, and how the organization’s environment will change overtime in light of each possible future.
Often a strategic planning tool completed within the military, as well as other organizations, this exercise is something Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, president of Salus, is quite familiar with and was excited to bring the University through the process in its entirety.
“It’s one of those things I brought from my military days – always looking out 10 years ahead to see what alternate futures might look like and how they can affect the organization,” he said.
Together, the Board of Trustees, administrators and academic deans and directors explored alternate futures that might affect the very complex health education landscape in which the institution operates. This process helped Salus envision how the institution as a whole and individual programs should be positioned in order to optimally meet the health education needs of the 21st century.
“For us, it was very complex because we’re looking at higher education but we’re also looking at the intersection with healthcare,” Dr. Mittelman said.
According to Dr. Mittelman, not one single scenario will be totally accurate, but each will have qualities that are realistic and can be implemented.
“We need to be prepared to pivot in either one of the directions and the planning ensures us that we won’t have to react, but that we’re being proactive about what the future might hold,” he said.
The exercise included several stages: orientation (conducting a survey); exploration (developing scenarios); synthesizing (testing and revising strategic plans); and introduction (to the Salus community).
During the introduction stage, the findings from the process were shared with, and validated by, the Salus community through town halls, focus groups and surveys. The community’s feedback was then used to update the University’s strategic plan.
Scenario 1-Transformative Education
Scenario 1 considers an adaptive and evolving workforce with new and emerging professions synergistic with technology. This includes using artificial intelligence (AI), collaboration with healthcare providers, and a holistic, integrated care focused on health and wellness.
Scenario 2-A La Carte Education
Scenario 2 involves education being affordable and accessible with prescriptive offerings; selected from a menu of core and elective courses. Healthcare providers and educators consolidate, and coordinated care is focused on population health and prevention.
Scenario 3-Exclusive Education
Scenario 3 sticks to a regimented educational approach, with only basic healthcare needs addressed, limited accessibility with a tiered approach, heavily regimented and rigid accreditation requirements.
Scenario 4-Big Box Education
Scenario 4 is competency-based, with flexible offerings and a “one-stop-shop” of institutions partnered with healthcare providers. This scenario involves interprofessional care of contemporary health issues.