4 Ways to Compete in Today’s Hospital Market

4 Ways to Compete in Today’s Hospital Market

How to Grow and Stay Relevant in the Evolving Healthcare Space

By Morgan Atkins and Daniel Dreaden

It has been predicted that 2019 will be marked by many changes in the healthcare industry. The progression towards more cost effective and convenient healthcare will continue to motivate mergers and acquisitions that will disrupt the status quo and alter the way consumers interface with this industry.

"In overwhelming numbers, consumers are willing to abandon old [healthcare] models for more efficient, convenient care… We are seeing this go far beyond flu shots." Ceci Connolly, managing director of PwC's Health Research Institute, said during a webinar on the study.

The shifting dynamics of healthcare will continue to drive providers of all sizes to remain flexible and open to new possibilities. Here are four ways hospitals can embrace these changes, stay competitive, and see growth in 2019.

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1. Ensure patients can easily access your services

Retail locations and walk-in clinics offer convenience and accessibility for primary care needs. They also offer an affordable alternative to emergency room visits. Take for example, the CVS MinuteClinics, which are in roughly 12 percent of its 9,800 retail locations. Already successfully servicing primary care needs, these MinuteClinics will likely expand physician services offerings after the 2018 buyout of Aetna.

Rather than see this as a reason for worry, forward-thinking hospitals will see an opportunity and look for partnership openings. According to a report by the Convenient Care Association, the number of hospitals and health systems joining forces with retail clinics has more than doubled in the last year, with over 120 systems actively involved in operating or partnering with retail clinics. And, as written about in this Social Innovations Journal article, the partnerships between retail-based convenient care clinics and hospitals and health systems provide a number of key benefits for both entities, including broader access to care, service expansion opportunities, enhanced quality monitoring and improvement programs, ongoing support of continuity of care, and ensured compliance with the Affordable Care Act.  

2. Get social   

According to Sprout Social, the overarching purpose of social media in healthcare is to improve the patient experience and form a “customer-centric relationship” with followers. An active social presence, when done well, can provide a nearly direct line of informal, but very relevant connection to the patients you serve and are hoping to attract. While there can be many payoffs to this form of communication, here are a few that are key:

  • Unlike any other form of media, social media allows users to shape and form (“control”) the identity and message they want to present. Healthcare providers can use this platform to publicize their mission, values, and goals in everyday, relatable language and visualizations.

  • Providers can promote a 'real life' look at the services being delivered and stories that are developing within their facility.

  • Finally, social media can be a very effective way to provide motivation and support for those that may be struggling with chronic diseases or other ailments.

3. Understand the patients in your market  

Healthcare providers have access to more insights about patients in their service area and their behaviors more than ever before. Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know the needs and patterns of the patients in your market, as this provides a key opportunity for growth. Patient demographics and psychographics allow providers to more effectively grow the right service lines and target marketing messages to reach the right audience. Stratasan, through the use of Esri's Tapestry Segmentation, is positioned to equip your hospital and health system with these insights so you can truly understand the patients in your market and develop marketing and outreach campaigns with a better likelihood of success. Click here to learn more about Tapestry Segmentation and how this can these insights can support your hospital system.

4. Don’t be afraid to try new things

Patients are becoming more adaptable to new technologies and more open to modern healthcare models. A trend of new market entrants is disrupting the healthcare industry as patients are empowered with information and demanding convenience. A new study found that 45% of people are willing to abandon the physician office setting for certain outpatient services. Healthcare providers must look for creative new ways to connect with this new kind of patient. Consider some of these examples for inspiration:

  • California companies opening Kaiser Permanente Care Corners where patients can have a private teleconference with a doctor or nurse, with a vocational nurse on-site to collect vital signs and other data that can be sent to Kaiser Permanente physicians.

  • As described in this article on healthcare trends, rural healthcare providers leveraging new technology as they experience population loss: “Technologies, such as telehealth and telemedicine, and consumer health wearables or smartphones, can enable rural-based care systems to consolidate specialty care services and referrals as ways to survive and grow in an evolving market.”

  • The 22 organizations running 82 nurse-managed clinics across the country, as documented by Vanderbilt’s Bonnie Pilon, Ph.D., FAAN in this blog series. In these locales, advanced practice nurses are filling gaps in healthcare access and many could benefit from connection to a local hospital or health system.

The Takeaway

Patient evolution and the influence of many outside forces are requiring leaders in the healthcare sector to consider non-traditional and often uncomfortable change. As healthcare providers consider their future, a clear understanding of patient needs, demographics, and psychographics will be key to success. Direct access to these insights will inform critical decisions about which services lines should be expanded and how to communicate these changes to the market.  
For more information on how to focus on the right growth opportunities, target marketing outreach to reach the right patients, and get higher response rates to marketing campaigns contact Sean Conway and schedule a discovery call today.

Article by Morgan Atkins, Director of Innovation and Daniel Dreaden, Senior Health Analyst for Stratasan

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