by Nashville Health Care Council | Feb 11, 2015

By: Phil Suiter, President and CEO – Aegis Health Group

There appears to be a new wave of optimism among health care leaders as the industry has moved beyond the initial uncertainty and disruption triggered by the ACA and providers see the value and realization of their strategic plans taking effect.  Aegis Health Group has identified six key developments contributing to this more positive point of view for the industry’s future:

  1. The Innovation Movement – There is an industry trend taking place that is embracing innovative strategies to address key hospital challenges.Health care leaders are collaborating with researchers, consultants, community partners and cross-functional teams, finding fresh approaches that can make a major difference toward achieving competitive differentiation. Not merely innovation for innovation’s sake, an important element of these activities is projected outcomes measurement — focusing on initiatives that are results-driven and offer promise of a positive ROI.
  2. Population Health 2.0 – One size does not fit all. Almost all health care providers recognize that population health is a key element to their success; however, each has their own strategy for actualization. “In 2015 we expect more hospitals to make investments in consumer-directed technologies that put their population health programs at the fingertips of local consumers,” says Phil Suiter, Aegis Health Group’s president and CEO. Tools like online population health websites that allow health systems to collect, track and act on the health risks of area consumers before they become patients and community outreach campaigns are front-running strategies Aegis has seen executed with impressive results.
  3. Next Generation Physician-Relationship Management – This is about taking a hospital’s physician engagement to the next level. Building physician loyalty has long been a key tenant of a hospital’s key objectives. Enhanced physician data analytics now offer a view to precise referral habits and leakage patterns.With this technology, hospitals can increase service line growth by focusing alignment activities where they can make the most impact and make smarter decisions about future practice investments.
  4. The Age of Consumerism – Proactive outreach takes the forefront in engaging consumers and looking at the health care experience from their point of view. Not only do hospitals need to execute consumer-directed health care practices that differentiate them as “providers of choice” in their markets, they also must identify ways to meet consumers where they are. “As an industry, we must communicate with consumers in a way that is personal, engaging and actionable if we are to expect them to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” Suiter adds.Communications can run encompass a variety of Web and mobility options, text, email and even direct mail campaigns, depending on your audience profile and preferences.”
  5. Achieving a Productive Balance – Health care organizations are realizing ways to optimize the balance between fee-for-service and pay-for-performance as they live in two worlds at once. Many progressive hospital leaders are going beyond value-based contracts with their payers; additionally they are becoming health plan sponsors as they adopt direct-to-employer contracting strategies and narrow networks which can offer a “meet in the middle” solution. This balancing act is key to optimizing opportunities with insured populations while establishing the infrastructure necessary to manage patients in an integrated delivery environment.
  6. Wellness is the New Black – Wellness has gained a prominence no one would have predicted a few short years ago.  Health systems are setting the bar by embracing programs that use incentives to encourage participation and benefiting from a decrease in health-related expenses, higher productivity and morale, lower absenteeism and workers compensation claims. They are also actively taking wellness programs into the community by working with local employers and other targeted populations. Hospitals realize they need to position themselves as the trusted partners to which local residents should turn for education and support, creating preference for their services and programs.