In his most recent column, my colleague Philip Betbeze peers into the future and catches a glimpse of the healthcare system circa a decade from now. He says it "doesn't look good for independent standalone community hospitals, unless your hospital happens to be of the critical access variety."
But, all is not lost, Philip writes, in about 3 Actions That Could Save Community Hospitals. This line in particular caught my eye: "The growth is not in inpatient. If you don't have strong outpatient facilities, you don't have much hope."
When I read that, I dove into the HealthLeaders archives to see what I could find on outpatient care as a source of revenue. Here's what I found, neatly compiled into a list of resources for building up outpatient business:
1. Outpatient Care: Strategic Growth Lives Here
This article from HealthLeaders magazine (written by Philip) says outpatient services will grow by 21.6% between 2009 and 2019, while inpatient utilization will plod along at only 1.7%. "Hospitals and health systems may be entering a window of time in which they have an opportunity to strengthen their hold on their local healthcare market because of payment changes that make it more difficult for physicians to independently carve out lucrative niches in the outpatient market." The article examines the expansion strategies of migrating formerly invasive procedures from inpatient to outpatient settings, and the proliferation of medical malls, which extend access to specialists, where they were previously unavailable.