Research

Priming for Growth

At a glance

Successfully growing market share is a critical component of a sustainable margin management strategy, but hospitals and health systems across the country are struggling to win the growth they need. This research report explores the growth strategies necessary for success, pinpoints 18 underlying internal barriers that inhibit growth, and features case studies of organizations overcoming these barriers to achieve outsized revenue growth.

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Take a closer look

The financial performance of hospitals and health systems has reached an all-time low, and margin pressures continue to intensify over time. Organizations are bombarded with revenue threats, including direct pricing cuts, new payment models, and the continued outmigration of care. Despite these market forces, achieving steady revenue growth is mandatory for long-term financial sustainability. Fortunately, progressive organizations are successfully meeting the revenue mandate.

In early 2019, we published Re-igniting the Growth Engine, a three-part series profiling best-in-class approaches to reducing avoidable revenue erosion, winning an increased share of lucrative patient volumes, and exploring opportunities to diversify into new revenue streams.

Building on that research, we took a deeper look at that second theme—growing share—and posed two critical questions: Why are hospitals and health systems struggling to win the growth they need? And how can leaders overcome the obstacles to growth—especially the internal barriers that all too often inhibit growth? Answering these questions is the key to achieving margin-sustaining revenue growth.

This research report explores the growth strategies necessary for success, pinpoints 18 underlying internal barriers that inhibit growth, and features case studies of organizations overcoming these barriers to achieve outsized revenue growth.

Download the Research Report




Achieving true systemness

Regardless of their size, many organizations still struggle to reorient their assets and leaders to focus on the overall entity’s well-being. This fragmentation and lack of “systemness” inhibits effective growth in a multitude of ways. Learn how to harness practical tools—leadership structures, incentives, growth targets, and capital allocation—to achieve true systemness. (p. 14)

Expanding consumer access

Consumer access remains a major challenge at hospitals and health systems nationwide, especially for specialty services. Organizations cannot grow lucrative business if they do not have space for additional volumes. Given the high cost and often limited opportunities to add new capacity or clinicians, leaders need to maximize existing capacity. Learn how to unlock latent physician supply, protect specialist access, and achieve top-of-site care to expand consumer access. (p. 20)

Enhancing network integrity

After expanding consumer access, the next step is to more effectively retain patients after their first interaction with the organization (when clinically appropriate to do so). Many hospitals and health systems already struggle to do this well today, and competition for patient preference and downstream volumes continues to increase. Learn how to eliminate roadblocks to in-network referrals, define desirable referrals, and transform the referral process to enhance network integrity. (p. 25)

Competing on financial value

Even after hospitals and health systems have completed the hard work of expanding access and improving navigation, consumers may still choose to go elsewhere if they can find lower-priced care. This is becoming increasingly common as consumers and employers bear the financial burden of unaffordable care and “surprise bills.“ Learn how to mitigate costly decisions made by hospitals, physicians, consumers, and employers to compete on financial value. (p. 29)

Establishing brand affinity

Finally, hospitals and health systems must communicate their service offerings in ways that connect with their target patients. All too often, organizations use inaccessible clinical language and present an indistinguishable identity in the market. Learn how to start building a brand promise that transcends service lines to establish brand affinity. (p. 37)

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