The way we conduct business in healthcare is changing dramatically. Healthcare reform and fiscal restraint are front and center on the minds of politicians, the media and business leaders around the world. Healthcare organizations are expected to continue growing despite expanding patient populations (increased demand for services) coupled with higher costs, particularly for chronic disease management as the population ages.
In the United States, healthcare spending now represents 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and healthcare costs are expanding at twice the country’s economic growth rate, according to consulting firm Russell Reynolds Associates. In the midst of this maelstrom, how can healthcare organizations continue to do business profitably—without sacrificing quality?
We’ve put together a list of six factors we believe are key to driving growth in your healthcare organization:
- Become Patient-Centric
The term ‘patient-centric’ is becoming a cliché but what we’re really talking about here is pretty basic: we’re talking about excellent customer service, before and after you acquire a new patient. Know and understand your prospective patients’ needs, buying habits and options. Make sure every one of your staff members understands the importance of patient satisfaction, from initial contact through the billing and insurance process. Employees who receive training and are given authority to improve processes have a vested interest in and a positive impact on overall growth.
- Build Partnerships and Alliances
Healthcare organizations, medical groups and hospitals need to cultivate partnerships and alliances to achieve shared objectives. By doing this, businesses gain key growth opportunities through access to partner resources with similar markets including market intelligence and emerging technologies. Fast-growing companies rely heavily on alliances to extend their technical and operational knowledge to know what’s working. By taking this approach companies not only save time and money, but they also boost productivity and agility to adapt to changes.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Diversify & Create For-Profit Enterprises
Increased demand for healthcare services means increased opportunities to reorganize and diversify to obtain (and retain) a larger share of a patient’s healthcare business. For example, hospitals are opening their own skilled nursing facilities, specialty clinics and other businesses. And while most hospitals are non-profit entities, they represent only a part of the healthcare sector. There are for-profit physical therapy and home healthcare businesses, technology companies, and healthcare-related businesses that support the healthcare system. Some are run by non-healthcare administrators but an increasing number of physicians are setting up their own ambulatory healthcare centers and other businesses away from the hospitals where they practice.
- Improve Processes
Healthcare organizations and groups understand that managing the day-to-day operations in extremely busy and highly regulated environments can be very complex. Secure and efficient information technology systems, resources and overall management are key drivers for growth. Automating and streamlining processes allows everyone to focus on customer satisfaction, cost effective operations and overall growth.
- Embrace the Digital Revolution
Digital healthcare information technology advances such as electronic health records, mobile health applications, and predictive analytics are transforming the way physicians, payers, patients, and other health care stakeholders interact. Digital innovations are helping to create new diagnostic and treatment options,
increase efficiency, and reduce costs.
- Manage High-Cost Patients Cost-Effectively
Health providers must develop alternative ways to cater to high-cost patients. According to a report by consulting firm PwC’s Health Research Institute, one percent of the population accounts for 20 percent of all expenses. Create mitigation strategies to ensure that these patients receive quality care through more cost-effective delivery mechanisms. The report cited, for example, the Spectrum Health System in Michigan, which identified 30 frequent visitors to its ERs and offered primary care within walking distance. The number of visits dropped 90 percent in a year and overall costs fell from $1.1 million to $130,000.
What are some other ways you’ve experienced that are driving growth in your organization?
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