Population health and convenience in healthcare are here to stay

Population health and the increasing retail and consumer-minded approach are arguably the biggest shifts in the healthcare industry today, and they show little sign of letting up anytime soon. So says healthcare consultancy firm the Advisory Board in a blog post, detailing potential strategies for providers. “The truth of the matter is, retail medicine and population […]

Population health and the increasing retail and consumer-minded approach are arguably the biggest shifts in the healthcare industry today, and they show little sign of letting up anytime soon.

So says healthcare consultancy firm the Advisory Board in a blog post, detailing potential strategies for providers.

“The truth of the matter is, retail medicine and population health are real, and probably around for the long haul,” writes Ben Umansky, noting that hospital leaders can be successful if they adopt the right strategies.

“We identified three strategic objectives in particular that are relevant in both types of markets:convenient access, lean cost structures, and a smart partnership strategy.”

Convenience is a new concept in healthcare overall, so it’s not hard to understand why consumers, aka patients, won’t put up with the old guard ways of arbitrary, cloaked-in-secrecy pricing and long wait times for seemingly simple procedures. But it also has an indirect benefit for population health.

“When it’s easier for patients to get care, or even just information, when they need it, they’re more likely to follow care plans.That means better outcomes and lower total costs. Patients are also more likely to stay within your network if they can always access it, so you can be confident that the returns on your care management investments will accrue to you, not your competition,” Umansky writes.

Just as the concept of convenience shouldn’t be hard to grasp, the same is true of lean cost structures, but it’s more important than ever to actually achieve it with the turbulent road ahead.

Finally, with all the consolidation that has occurred, a smart partnership strategy is vital for any hospital’s survival.

“No matter the form it takes (and it’s not always M&A), a smart partnership can strengthen any organization’s appeal to retail consumers.”