hospital strategy trends 2021
The Strategy function is critical for the future of hospitals and health systems. The hospital strategy team anticipates and plans for changing market dynamics, competitive pressures, consumer behaviors, technological advances, evolving regulations, and macro and micro factors that impact health. For many hospitals in 2020, strategy had to take a backseat. Instead of opening new facilities or running provider outreach campaigns to improve in-network referrals, strategy teams were pulled into critical action to meet the demands of a pandemic

As we enter 2021, hospital strategy leaders have an important opportunity to take a lead role in the industry’s transformation as their leadership looks to them to decipher key patterns and trends. 

From our interactions with dozens of chief strategy officers over the past weeks, a strong trend emerges in the areas they will prioritize over the next 12-18 months. 

1. Market and service line growth

Many CSOs face limitations when it comes to having the right data at their fingertips to make decisions with confidence, and in an increasingly competitive environment, they can no longer afford gaps in insight to answer questions such as:

  • How will my volume and market share shift over time by service line, procedure type, and site of care? Based on the data, which new product lines should I pursue? 
  • What can current trends in my market tell me about which services to develop or expand? Do I have the right mix of services? 

“Protecting market share and preventing outmigration are key focus areas for improving patient volume. Investing in analytics to identify and minimize causes of patient outmigration is a more efficient and effective use of resources to maintain patient volumes than the more costly and challenging alternative of attempting to grow market share by identifying and capturing patient whitespace in the market or attracting entrenched patients from competing systems.” 

Paul Deeringer, SVP, Strategy & Emerging Business
John Muir Health

2. Physician alignment and recruitment

CSOs often have gaps in market intelligence and referral data, making it challenging to assess which providers will make the best partners. With significant volume shifting to ASC’s, hospitals now have even less complete data on patient journeys and struggle to answer business questions like:

  • Which employed and affiliated physicians have an opportunity to improve keepage rates within my network? 
  • Where are the highest value opportunities to partner with non-affiliated physicians?

“Analytics are increasingly important to drive alignment. A decade or so ago, performing favorably on value-based arrangements was relatively straightforward. Today, the levers are not that straightforward—it requires transforming care, improving the outcomes of the community, and preventing a patient from landing in an inpatient bed in the first place. That’s where analytics play an important role.”

Divya Paliwal, Chief Transformation Officer
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

3. Consumer engagement

Having an end-to-end view of patient journeys is critical to identifying how to best engage and keep engaging your patients. Hospital strategy leaders should invest in longitudinal tracking to better understand patient needs and identify opportunities to better serve them. That level of insight will give them the precise answers to questions like:

  • What do my patients’ journeys look like in my area or market of interest? 
  • What is my share of wallet across the patient journey? And where and to whom do I lose patients along the continuum of care? 

As they planned for investment in new technology and analytical capabilities, the above three areas emerged clearly as the top 3 priorities for Chief Strategy Officers and hospital strategy teams. What they will need to succeed is access to precise, fast, on-demand insights so they can act with confidence.

To support strategy leaders as they navigate the ocean of complex questions they could be tackling, we have created a guide, Driving lasting impact in 2021, to share how CSOs can address their nearer-term priorities while creating a strong foundation for the future of their organizations. Download the CSO Guide here

Strategy and business development leaders across the country leverage our advanced analytics software to inform strategic decisions on market and service line expansion, physician alignment, and consumer engagement. Request a demo to learn more