Why Scenario Planning?

Reaching for Excellence project sponsors sought an effective method for engaging the community in an open, creative and goal-oriented dialogue about health and health care. The effort turned to "scenario planning," a strategic planning method that portrays for the community a range of possible futures based on today's decisions. Scenario planning considers the complex interaction of community decisions and broader trends in future outcomes for a region, envisioning alternative futures based on how these factors play out. Scenarios are not predictions, but rather stories that empower a community in imagining possibilities and then determining a stronger future through an appreciation of the risks, opportunities and trade-offs involved.

The initiative's scenario planning process began with a series of design workshops during summer 2007 that engaged more than 30 key regional health and community leaders.

Global Business Network, a nationally regarded leader in scenario thinking, facilitated this initial dialogue about the range of challenges and opportunities facing the region's health care system, focusing on what the region needs for a stronger future health care system. Out of all the forces driving health care in the region, the group focused on two of the most important and yet uncertain drivers - regional economics and the nature of care.

On one end of the spectrum, the region could see more limited resources for essential social programs, either due to economic downturn, a lack of funding or poor management of resources. At the other end, the economy could see growth and increased efficiencies, fostering a well-funded network of social programs.

Within the care spectrum, emphasizing preventive care and proactive medicine, including increased monitoring and proactive lifestyle habits, could limit the need for costly remedial care. The opposite end would continue the traditional medical model that reacts to the community's health needs and employs clinics and care centers as a safety net of remedial care.

When viewed as axes of possibility, the two factors intersect to create four different futures for the region, each with unique risks and opportunities for the region and different "winners" and "losers."

To translate these four scenarios into realistic, compelling possibilities to which community members could respond, Reaching for Excellence developed four narratives featuring a recurring cast of patients and health care providers. These stories became the core of One Friday: Four Futures and the content to which community members would respond in sharing their priorities for regional health care.

The Scenario Planning Group

As a foundation for this effort, Reaching for Excellence sought to leverage the insights and experience of key stakeholders. The Scenario Planning Group engaged health care leaders as well as community leaders representing constituents with an important stake in health system outcomes.

Regional Health and Community Leaders
Planning Group Participants
Ann Abdella Chautauqua County Health Network
LaVonne Ansari Community Health Center of Buffalo
Patricia Berggren Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
Anthony Billitier Erie County Department of Public Health
Mary Lee Campbell-Wisley Univera Healthcare
Carol Cassell Independent Health Association
Vincent Clark Government and Community Relations, University at Buffalo
Kevin Donovan United Auto Workers, Region 9
Allison Duwe Western New York Health Care Campaign
Mike Edbauer Catholic Independent Practice Association
Kathryn A. Foster University at Buffalo Regional Institute
Robert Gioia The John R. Oishei Foundation
Richard Hague Mount Erie Baptist Church
Paul Hogan The John R. Oishei Foundation
Shelley Hirshberg P² Collaborative of Western New York
James Kaskie Kaleida Health
Mary Kienzle Community Benefit Catholic Health System
Sharon Mathe Healthy Community Alliance
Robert Meiss Beechwood Continuing Care
Ann Monroe Community Health Foundation of Western & Central New York
James Moor Bogoni Center, St. Bonaventure University
Jay Pomerantz HealthNow New York
Daryl Rasuli National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York
Mattie Rhodes University at Buffalo School of Nursing
Sister Denise Roche D'Youville College
Bart Rodrigues Catholic Health System
Daniel Scully Buffalo Medical Group
Todd Tranum Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
Francisco Vasquez People, Inc.
Pamela Whitmore Genesee County Office of the Aging
Michael Young ECMC

One Friday: Four Futures

Learn how 1,700 Western New Yorkers engaged in a dialogue about the region's health care future: