The Growth Channel

Why patient access is a CEO issue

by John Deane

Patient access is not as familiar a phrase as “population health management,” “patient engagement,” or “volume growth.” However, when I speak to CEOs and executive teams around the country, I increasingly hear that to advance those and other health system objectives, improving patient access is a critical priority.

As a health system leader, you know that health systems have a paramount need to grow, both to increase volumes now and to be competitively positioned in a future population health environment. In either scenario, hospitals must get more patients in the door, and ambulatory clinics are the way most patients enter the health system.

Learn the definition of 'patient access'

Patients and their families are more involved than ever before in making decisions about their care, and they are prioritizing “quality” when selecting a provider. What our consultants are finding in client practices is that patients define “quality” differently than providers. From the patient perspective, quality means receiving services that meet their needs at the right time and the right place. This is the very definition of patient access.

CEOs must own the patient access and experience mandate to make sure they are capturing that ambulatory market share. What many organizations do not realize, though, is that access is much more than scheduling: it touches many different aspects of strategy and operations. Because access issues have been plaguing our clients, we created a framework for how to improve access, a framework which we now use in our engagements and is illustrated below.

One of our Advisory Board Consulting and Management consultants experienced the access challenge firsthand when he relocated to our Nashville office a few months ago and struggled to find a primary care physician who could see him. Watch Ayal’s video below.

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