Women’s services face three strategic challenges across the next decade:
1. New demographics shifting demand for services
The aging population and decline in birth rate will shift demand for women’s services from labor and delivery to midlife and geriatric life stages, requiring women’s programs to realign their service offerings to new demographics. They may need to strengthen or add capabilities in subspecialties such as urogynecology and gynecologic oncology.
2. Emergence of population management
Public and private payers continue to experiment with payment models that move beyond episodic fee-for-service reimbursement, extending the length of time for which hospitals and health systems are held accountable for patient outcomes. To succeed under new payment models, service lines such as women’s programs must not only provide high quality, low cost inpatient care, but they must also work with patients in outpatient settings to manage recovery and chronic conditions.
3. Market rush to patient loyalty
As new payment models emphasize management of patients across time, a host of health care system stakeholders—integrated delivery networks, independent physician groups, accountable care organizations, and new primary care providers—are attempting to lock in patients and populations for ongoing management. Many organizations adopt strategies specifically to target women. Women’s services leaders must pursue program innovations and marketing strategies that differentiate their programs in an increasingly crowded market.
A strategic priority for value-based competition
Despite these challenges, women’s programs remain a strategic priority for hospitals and health systems. Historically, organizations prioritized women’s services to attract key decision-makers for family health care. As payers increasingly tie payment to outcomes and more providers participate in population management, women’s programs can also help organizations retain patients in the delivery network and engage women in health outcomes and self-management.
Planning and marketing priorities for developing competitive programs
To compete effectively for patients and populations in the value-based marketplace, planners, marketers and women’s program leaders must accomplish two objectives:
1. Develop the patient-centered matrix model
Women’s programs must ensure that governance, planning process, and investment strategy advance a high-performance multidisciplinary model. Women’s programs typically operate in a matrix environment—they maintain direct oversight over some specialties while collaborating with other departments for relevant services. Such matrix models, requiring women’s program leaders to continually improve internal partnerships and processes to ensure care coordination.
2. Position programs for loyalty and engagement
Women’s programs must develop a brand that communicates comprehensiveness to an aging population with diverse health care needs. Marketing strategies should not only compete for share of specialty procedures, they should also connect consumers to ambulatory services and deploy tactics and technologies to foster ongoing engagement in health.
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