Our team connected with marketing and strategy leaders across dozens of leading healthcare organizations at SHSMD’s Annual Connections Conference. Across the 4-day conference, we heard sessions on topics ranging from service line marketing to current challenges with ASC data visibility to shifts in provider recruitment & retention trends. While these session topics may seem siloed at first glance, the uniting principle we found was a focus on developing highly effective, patient-centric strategies that optimize both volume and value. Here’s a recap on the current market challenges that leading health systems are facing and the effective strategies they are using today in order to stay ahead of tomorrow’s competition:

In today’s ever-shifting consumer landscape, it’s crucial to understand the needs of your market(s) if you want to attract and retain patients. During the event, strategic marketing leaders from Vanderbilt University, Baylor Scott & White, and Cleveland Clinic led a session on the strategies and technologies used by their leading service line marketers to assess and meet the needs of their patient populations. Specifically, this entailed using a patient-centric model to understand overall market position across various service lines and geographies, evaluate utilization trends, and build out specific growth strategies to strengthen market position and remain competitive. This session referenced a 2021 McKinsey provider customer experience survey, where organizations who used patient-centric models reported satisfied patients that:

  1. have 36% fewer perceived unnecessary visits
  2. are 28% less likely to switch providers
  3. are 5-6x more likely to use other services from the same provider (such as primary care and maternity care)

We can see here that understanding the needs of your patient populations to inform your service line strategy is imperative not only for growing volume but also for improving the value of care that’s delivered. So, what does this look like in action for service line leaders? With advanced healthcare market intelligence, leading health systems have uncovered gaps in their service line market strength down to the DRG/CPT level to prioritize procedures and service lines for strategic growth. With this type of next-gen market intelligence, your teams can make the right investments and divestments to specific service lines, ambulatory services, infrastructures, and provider networks.

Even with OP revenue on track to overtake inpatient revenues in the next few years, not many organizations have developed a comprehensive strategy on how they plan to measure the success they’re seeing in the ambulatory environment. A session led by Melanie Landrum, VP, Data and Health Information Services at Kentucky Hospital Association, and Katie Arnett, VP, Chief Experience Officer at King’s Daughter Health, touched on the core features of a successful ambulatory strategy and highlighted a few market and data challenges that many health systems and hospital associations face today.

There are quite a few market challenges in the ambulatory space when it comes to provider recruitment and retention. Understanding provider dynamics in this setting is critical to developing meaningful, lasting BD & marketing strategies, and yet – according to a 2019 survey from the American Association of Physician Leadership, 20% of doctors plan to make a career change within 12 months and as many as 70% change jobs within their first 2 years.

With such high turnover rates becoming commonplace, it’s difficult for any one organization to answer questions like “Who are the best physicians in my market to recruit?” or “What are the trends in referral flows across my market right now?” without a strategic partner that can provide outside-in sources of data that paint the full picture.

In addition to provider recruitment and retention challenges, this session highlighted the gaps in how OP data and it’s actionability; there is an over-complication of OP data, a lack of understanding of how to use the data, a hefty time lag in receiving the data, and a lack of user-friendly data in general. Leading health systems are looking to understand underlying outpatient and ASC claims data to surface insights at the DRG/CPT level and track competitive dynamics for OP services and regional penetration from larger competitors. This is crucial for systems looking to stay competitive in today’s market, where high acuity cases are tending to leave hospital ORs and migrate to ASCs.

Wrapping up our conversations from SHSMD, it’s clear that the strategy and market leaders we met are not only trying to solve for immediate patient volume declines at their hospital/health systems but considering long-term value as well. As we continue to see shifts in provider retention, procedure migrations, and consumer preferences, health systems must remain agile in their approach to driving smarter patient growth and choose the right technology partner to assess referral patterns and provider performance beyond the four walls of their own organizations.


  1. The next frontier of care delivery in healthcare: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-next-frontier-of-care-delivery-in-healthcare
  2. Hospital revenue trends: Outpatient, home, virtual, and other care settings are becoming more common: https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/health-care/outpatient-virtual-health-care-trends.html
  3. Effectively Recruiting and Retaining Physicians: A Strategic Approach for 2020: https://www.physicianleaders.org/news/effectively-recruiting-and-retaining-physicians-a-strategic-approach-for-2020