Hospital Strategies for Surviving in a Changing Healthcare Environment

In a session at the Becker’s Hospital Review annual meeting in Chicago on May 18, CEO of Objective Health Russ Richmond, MD, discussed hospital strategies for thriving in the current healthcare environment.

Before discussing helpful strategies, Dr. Richmond noted four pitfalls he sees with hospital strategies:
  1. Lack of a direction setting. Many hospitals only consider growth as a part of their strategy. But hospitals have to ask why they want to grow – not all hospitals need to grow to become successful.
  2. Situational analysis. Some hospitals lack necessary facts about competitive dynamics and market share when they formulate a strategy. There is too often a poor understanding of competitive dynamics.
  3. Insufficient option generation and lack of a portfolio. Not enough hospitals have portfolio options on the table.
  4. Execution risk. Dr. Richmond said he sometimes sees an overall lack of articulation with a strategic plan.
He said hospitals use “growth” as a dominant theme in strategic planning for several reasons: scale, protection, ego, integration and pricing.

Dr. Richmond said hospitals brainstorming a strategy might want to consider specializing in service lines that will “drive your hospital.”

Innovation is coming from outside the U.S., Dr. Richmond notes.

“[The U.S.] does not have a lock on new ideas for how to deliver are, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

He pointed to examples from India, Kenya, Pakistan and other parts of the world showing how to put together a creative hospital strategy given a hospital’s resources.

Here are several delivery innovation models Dr. Richmond noted:
  • Integrated care
  • Franchising hospital models
  • Technology-enabled networks
  • Product specialization
Dr. Richmond also noted that changing payment models are here and will likely stay around. Hospitals that want to thrive cannot continue to simply share profits with physicians without implementing some sort of quality measure.

Closing his session, Dr. Richmond stressed how important adaptation is in a hospital environment.

“You’ve got to have dedicated, focused staff that know how to change,” he said.

More Articles Related to Hospital Strategy:

Getting a Better Grip on Hospital Cost Estimates
Strategic Planning for Community Hospitals: How to Effectively Move to a New Delivery Model
The Chief of Change: Q&A With Dr. Ralph de la Torre, CEO of Steward Health Care

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