I recently attended the World Congress Physician Liaison Summit in Houston. It was a great event attended by hospital and provider business development and physician liaison personnel from across the country. While small, the topics and related conversations were fantastic. It was also a fantastic group of people!
One concept that still has me thinking is the discussion around how much of a focus is put on driving volumes. I can see where this makes sense. With reduced reimbursements, shrinking inpatient volumes, and continued financial strain in the market, providers are looking to increase volumes in hopes of driving top-line growth. The question is though what are they doing to ensure that the volume is growing and consistently grows.
Providers are increasing their liaison and physician outreach efforts while incorporating more traditional sales and marketing techniques along with tools like CRM systems. This is a good sign, and a great first step.
It is about time that providers begin to better control their own destinies by switching from reactive to proactive, and starting to implement a sales engine.
But all volumes are not created equal. In order to thrive, organizations must identify their most profitable service lines, payer relationships, and physician relationships. Providers have limited resources, both from a business development and clinical perspective.
It is clear that providers need to focus their limited resources on the services that they are best at, which typically is translated into their most profitable services, and those that they have the best chance of acquiring.
Profitability is a key business tenant that healthcare has shunned for too long. Nonprofit doesn’t mean no profit. It means you invest the profit back into your business in order to support your mission. As well, you are able to enhance services that will ultimately drive volume.
While profit isn’t necessarily the goal, it can be used to support your additional clinical efforts and enhance your mission.