Strategic Plan



In recognition of the dynamic health care environment in the United States and across the world, as well as changes within the organization and the specialty, STS decided to undertake a new strategic planning process in 2010-11. The culmination of the 2010-11 strategic planning process was the approval of the new Strategic Plan, titled “The Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Strategy for Leadership and Change,” by the STS Board of Directors on January 30, 2011. Designed with a 3-5 year timeframe in mind, it was determined that the new Strategic Plan would:

  • Improve organizational focus;
  • Hone a stronger sense of organizational direction;
  • Develop a stronger sense of identity for the organization and specialty;
  • Maximize the potential and value of the STS National Database;
  • Add member value; and
  • Continue STS leadership in education.

New Vision for the Future of Cardiothoracic Surgery

During the strategic planning process, it was noted that the specialty is in a transformational period, and, looking toward 2015, the following vision for the future of cardiothoracic surgery was identified.

“Cardiothoracic surgeons will be leaders of multidisciplinary teams dedicated to presenting the most appropriate choices to patients with cardiothoracic disease and achieving the best possible outcomes.”

STS Mission

The STS Board reaffirmed the STS Mission Statement:

“Enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research and advocacy.”

Strategic Goals and Strategies

During the strategic planning process, Strategic Goals were defined as longer-term directions that represent explicit, major choices about the scope of the organization and the outcomes that the organization wants to achieve, rather than merely worthy aspirations, the achievement of which would represent only incremental improvements in “business as usual.” The Strategic Goals and Strategies approved by the STS Board are designed to complement one another and to create a reinforcing cycle of STS leadership and accomplishment.   

Strategic Goal #1: STS National Database

STS will be the recognized national and international leader in outcomes, cost effectiveness, and quality measurement with the goal of significant improvement in patient safety and quality outcomes.

Strategy 1.1   STS will demonstrate the superiority of clinical databases linked to administrative claims databases for accurate measurement of patient outcomes, as well as for accurate measurement of efficiency.

Strategy 1.2   STS will enhance the STS National Database as a quality measurement tool that results in increased value by improving quality and decreasing cost.

Strategy 1.3   STS will enhance its Database collaboration with international stakeholders.

Strategy 1.4   STS will create a Research Center that has the capability to conduct research solely with STS resources.

Strategy 1.5   STS will take a leadership role in comparative effectiveness research.

Strategy 1.6   STS will seek to ensure compatibility of its Database with electronic medical records.

Strategy 1.7   STS will engage more general thoracic surgeon participation.

Strategic Goal #2: Partnerships with Allied Specialties and Other Health Care Partners

STS will be a proactive, influential partner in its relationships with allied specialties and other health care partners.

Strategy 2.1   STS will develop a data-driven disease management strategy (which will include international members).

Strategy 2.2   STS will educate and disseminate information to allied specialties and other health care partners about outcomes.

Strategy 2.3   STS will explore sponsorship of a multidisciplinary, mega-thoracic-disease meeting focused on outcomes, fostering synergies with allied specialties.

Strategy 2.4   STS will explore collaborative opportunities with CMS, FDA, NHLBI, and the following organizations in order to establish or deepen strong relationships: American College of Cardiology, American College of Surgeons, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American College of Chest Physicians, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Digestive Disease Week sponsors, and others.

Strategic Goal #3: Leadership in Quality

STS will maintain and enhance its premier leadership position in quality measurement, quality improvement, and reporting.

Strategy 3.1   STS will promote the reporting of quality performance-measure results to surgeons, the public, legislators and other stakeholders. 

Strategy 3.2   STS will promote best practices in quality improvement.

Strategy 3.3   STS will educate surgeons on the application of guidelines and performance metrics.

Strategy 3.4   STS will seek to increase its funded research.

Strategy 3.5   STS will maintain and enhance its leadership position in national quality organizations.

Strategic Goal #4: Membership

STS will increase its membership, member satisfaction, and member engagement. 

Strategy 4.1   STS will add non-surgeon physicians from related health care areas as members.

Strategy 4.2   STS will expand the membership of non-MD allied health care professionals.

Strategy 4.3   STS will enhance membership benefits and provide meeting sessions, academic opportunities, and leadership opportunities for non-MD allied health care professionals, thereby offering a professional “home.”

Strategy 4.4   STS will identify and meet member needs within specific segments.

Strategy 4.5   STS will create mechanisms for addressing the interests of its member surgeons early in their careers

Strategic Goal #5: Education Leadership

STS will be the acknowledged leader in providing the most relevant education for the specialty and for the benefit of its patient population.

Strategy 5.1   STS will introduce new medical technology to cardiothoracic surgeons and their team members and facilitate educational instruction on how to incorporate this new medical technology into their practices.

Strategy 5.2   STS will create patient education for improved decision-making.

Strategy 5.3   STS will develop and implement new modes of education tailored to individual needs. 

Strategy 5.4   STS will support resident education.

Strategic Goal #6: Secure the Future of the Specialty

STS will seek to ensure that the profession attracts and retains the workforce required to serve the needs of patients with cardiothoracic disease.

Strategy 6.1   STS will focus on attracting candidates early in their careers.

Strategy 6.2   STS will provide/enhance research opportunities for those interested in careers in cardiothoracic surgery.

Strategy 6.3   STS will seek to ensure that the quality and scope of educational offerings produce the requisite skill set for the employment market as it evolves to meet changing patient needs.

Strategy 6.4   STS will expand/enhance employment and job search/services support.

Strategy 6.5   STS will support the training of new cardiothoracic surgery residents.

Strategy 6.6   STS will support cardiothoracic surgery residents in their transitions from residency to early career practice opportunities.

Strategic Goal #7: Advocacy on Behalf of the Specialty

STS will educate patients, the media, allied specialties and policy makers to help them have a greater understanding of the value of cardiothoracic surgeons, and STS will strengthen its influence with Congress, regulatory agencies, and policy makers.

Strategy 7.1   STS will refocus advocacy content to reflect the team orientation of cardiothoracic surgeons.

Strategy 7.2   STS will promote to the media, policy makers, allied specialties and the public that cardiothoracic surgeons employ data-driven, evidence-based practices.

Strategy 7.3   STS will broaden its advocacy targets.

Strategy 7.4   STS will increase public awareness of cardiothoracic surgeons’ training and the importance of board certification in cardiothoracic surgery.

Strategic Goal #8: Research

STS will be a leader in research through focused initiatives to expand and enhance all aspects of research in cardiothoracic surgery and disease.

Strategy 8.1  STS will operationalize a Research Center (similar to 1.4).

Strategy 8.2   STS will take a leadership role in comparative effectiveness research.

Strategy 8.3   STS will seek to increase its funded research.

Strategy 8.4   STS will provide/enhance research opportunities for candidates for careers in cardiothoracic surgery.

Adopted by the STS Board of Directors: January 30, 2011; amended by the STS Board of Directors: May 5, 2013