In our 2012 Growth Survey, we found that our members are shifting their strategy to accomodate new market incentives. In addition to the technology and programmatic investment trends we reported earlier, we also noticed that providers are increasingly prioritizing investments in primary care capacity.
A shift from inpatient, specialty investments to care management, patient access
While nearly 30% of respondents intend to invest in additional acute care capacity, that number is dwarfed by the 77% of providers intending to add primary care physician offices as part of their growth strategy.
Similarly, four-fifths of institutions report seeking increased employment of primary care physicians across 2012.
Primary care strategy must grow patient panel, loyalty while reducing utilization through better care management
Building investment strategy around primary care is risky. Though primary care is not a high-profit service by itself, deliberate investments in primary care can turn into a financially viable strategy if the investments effectively grow the organization’s patient panel and help build patient loyalty to the organization. But health systems often pursue primary care expansion without a clear guiding strategy, ultimately resulting in haphazard and unprofitable investment.
Competition for primary care volume and capacity will continue to increase, further heightening the need to strategically deploy assets. Emerging payment models also require health systems to collaborate with primary care providers to improve patient health beyond the acute care setting and reduce utilization through improved care management.
Three keys to an effective network strategy
Given the importance of primary care investments, institutions must develop a principled network strategy to remain competitive. That strategy must include strong leadership structures, selective partnerships, and proactive patient outreach.
Learn more at our national meeting
Marketing and Planning Leadership Council members interested in learning more about effectively structuring primary care networks can register for the Council’s on-going national meeting series.
- If you are interested in learning more about the Marketing and Planning Leadership Council, please contact Eric Cragun (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
The Marketing and Planning Leadership Council’s 2012 survey on growth asked members to identify any technology and program investments they are considering as part of their institution’s growth strategy. Responses from 53 hospitals and health systems indicate evolving investment portfolios that reflect new market realities.
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