Community hospitals that have polished internal operations and built productive, collaborative partnerships with one or a few “center of excellence” facilities (see previous posts) have one more move to build a healthy, sustainable local hospital. Hospitals need to connect with their community of patients. Fostering convenient, affordable access can be a key element of this effort. Sponsor and promote contractual, operationally effective partnerships between active medical staff, “nurse in a nook” providers (CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and similar convenient clinical services for consumers), and hospital outpatient and emergency department services.
What does “operationally effective” mean? Seamless! Delivering continuity of care across and between partners for the patient. Providing informed, preferred transitions from the initial entry point to the most cost effective, convenient, clinically sound point of care for any encounter. The hospital goal is to enable community access to the healthcare system, to support sound triage and treatment, to facilitate any transfers without burden to the patient. Clinically appropriate care access should be conveniently available and actively working together to bring great service and support to the patient community.
All this requires robust data interfacing, re-engineered patient intake workflows that are recognizably consistent across all venues of care, disciplined execution and unrelenting focus on a customer experience that delivers a very high level of “ease of access” for every patient and family.
As this model of medical service community operation becomes established, the hospital can seek to project its’ presence to a broader geography. This can take many forms: expanding medical staff in surrounding communities, partnering with existing, smaller facilities to handle cases not possible locally (and accessing your “big hospital” partner for those beyond you), opening or contracting with urgent care, emergent care, and outpatient service operations to be their hospital partner of choice for cases requiring another level of service.
The underlying drivers of this thinking are to:
- maximize community access, convenience and affordability
- recognize and leverage competitive advantages each type of healthcare system participant enjoys
- avoid inefficient competition in favor of collaboration and mutual support
- build community loyalty by earning it: attentive execution, high standards, proactive customer care
Healthcare delivery players have a long, entrenched history of autonomy and independence. Today’s realities suggest that teamwork, collaboration, mutual support and real patient centric operating focus may be the new keys to achieving sustainable clinical quality and great patient outcomes.
Contact BrightWork Advisory, LLC to engage us in your strategic thinking today.