Northwell Health's 'aggressive' outpatient expansion increasing market share, CEO says

New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Northwell Health is aggressively expanding its outpatient portfolio to meet patients closer to home and increase its market share, president and CEO Michael Dowling told Becker's Hospital Review.

The 21-hospital system has 890 outpatient facilities and is focused on continuing to grow its ambulatory presence as CMS, commercial payers and patients continue to push more procedures to outpatient settings, where they can arguably be performed at a higher quality and lower cost.

"Our biggest growth is in outpatient care," Mr. Dowling said. "A lot of surgeries are moving outpatient, so we have to get ahead of that. Some think we are only a hospital system, but only about 46 percent of our business is from our hospital sector today."

Across the country, it is estimated that up to a third of hospital revenue is shifting to ASCs, office-based labs and other outpatient sites as inpatient discharge declines, health system competition in high-growth markets and innovative technologies fuel a shift to ambulatory settings, according to JLL's "Healthcare and Medical Office Perspective" report.

Mr. Dowling highlighted its neurosurgery, orthopedics, cancer and cardiac lines as key areas for revenue growth in the future, but the system is also focused on expanding into new geographic areas and markets, positioning services closer to home for patients and reducing the inconvenience of consumers having to travel long distances for care. 

"We're constantly increasing our market share by being very aggressive about going to where the customer is and providing the highest quality care that we can," Mr. Dowling said. "Part of that is also being able to recruit top-line, quality physicians. When you do that, you attract new business because you have competencies that you didn't have before."

Mr. Dowling cautioned health systems against relying on hospitals to be their core providers of the future. If you do that, "you're going to lose," he said.

"The more you expand ambulatory and grow in the right locations, the more you increase market share, which brings more of the necessary inpatient care back to your hospitals," he said. "Our hospitals are growing and getting busier in addition to our outpatient centers because we are growing market share. If we enter a new community and see 100 people, five of them will need to be hospitalized. That's a new market. Ambulatory cannot be disassociated from its connection to the inpatient market."

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