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The Outpatient Imperative: Beyond Putting 'Heads in Beds'

News  |  By Debra Shute  
   August 16, 2016

Healthcare leaders are developing outpatient strategies that enhance access in an increasingly risk-based environment. This can happen by several means—through acquisitions, partnerships, building new facilities, and often through some combination thereof. From there, the possibilities are almost endless.

This article first appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

To thrive in today's healthcare marketplace, hospital and health system leaders need to think beyond putting "heads in beds."

For some, fulfilling the goal of providing patients with the right care at the right place at the right time means becoming virtually omnipresent in the daily lives of consumers and potential consumers.

Expansion of ambulatory and outpatient care networks makes sense for several reasons, including the desire to improve patient access, strengthen patient-provider relationships, and increase revenue. In fact, 84% of healthcare leaders who responded to the 2015 HealthLeaders Media Ambulatory and Outpatient Care Survey regard the industry's shifting focus from acute to ambulatory care as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Getting the Value Out of Postacute Care

This figure is indicative of a changing mindset among health executives about outpatient business, including ambulatory and postacute care.

"Historically, we have viewed ambulatory and postacute care as means to support hospitals," says Scott Nordlund, executive vice president for growth, strategy, and innovation at Trinity Health, a Livonia, Michigan–based not-for-profit with facilities in 21 states and annual operating revenue of about $15.9 billion.


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Debra Shute is the Senior Physicians Editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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