Four Strategic Healthcare Initiatives for Agencies to Consider

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
Four Strategic Healthcare Initiatives for Agencies to Consider

Robert J. Simione, managing principal at Simione Healthcare Consultants, sees unprecedented opportunities right now for home care agencies despite the onslaught of regulations and new care models. The key, he notes in a recent news release, is the willingness and ability for agencies to collaborate with other providers to build a more organized system of care.

“The time to get involved in collaborative strategic initiatives is now, and home care and hospice providers need to do this urgently,” says Simione, who’s been in the home care industry for 35 years.

He believes that agencies need to consider strategic healthcare initiatives in these four areas:

  • Quality improvement and cost reduction
  • Market alignment
  • Program development
  • Diversification

Before an agency can show its value to other care providers, it must embark on quality improvement and cost reduction activities, adopting best practices, comparing its performance against industry benchmarks, and maintaining a strong compliance and risk plan. Agencies cannot merely undertake these activities – they must take them to heart and be able to show other providers that they can control costs and improve quality in such areas as hospital readmissions, Simione says.

The second focus area, market alignment, is a determination of whether an agency’s offerings are useful to patients and other care providers such as hospitals, physician groups and payers. Merging with another agency may be the best way to maximize resources and improve finances, he advises. Solutions will vary based on market and geographic considerations, so what works well in your market may not work in another market.

After looking inward, agency executives should explore program development options to enhance patient safety and provider services. Examples of new programs could include care transition programs, wellness and telemedicine, as well as programs aimed at specific patient populations.

Finally, an agency should strive for diversification, offering a range of services through a variety of delivery channels. Diversification serves two purposes: protecting an agency should one referral source or payer dry up and positioning the agency to serve the needs of hospitals more fully. “Hospitals want relationships with agencies that offer the convenience of a single point of contact able to solve for a variety of patient needs,” Simione says.

Are you looking for more initiatives to help your agency succeed? Increasing market share in post-acute services is another opportunity for your agency to control costs.

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