Wednesday, August 18 | Human Services, Post-Acute Care, Care Coordination, Partnerships and Collaboration

ICYMI: Diversify Your Service Lines or Bust

By Neal Tilghman, Senior Director & GM, Integrated Care

The demand for service expansion and diversification in both human services and post-acute continues to grow, even more so in the wake of COVID-19. Communities across the continuum need more access to care, and the numbers are there to prove it:

There is a tremendous need for service diversification and expansion, and with that comes opportunities for providers throughout all sectors of care delivery.

In this Netsmart-sponsored OPEN MINDS webinar, Maria Warren, Senior Director of Clinical Consulting Services at McBee, and Fred Johnson, President and CEO of Team Select Home Care, join Netsmart General Manager of Integrated Care, Neal Tilghman, to take an inside look at service growth and diversification strategies, market and data insights, do’s and don’ts to expanding your services, and the technology to get you there.

We know we need to grow, but where do we start? Warren explores key strategies to diversifying services.

Leverage what you know (30:30) 

  • Before looking to expand service offerings, take a look at what your organization does well. Consider not only profitability, but clinical outcomes as well. Knowing and evaluating your core business and service offerings is a key starting point to highlight where you excel and determine how to diversify and grow across those different opportunity areas. 
  • Leveraging what you know also includes understanding the geography, competition and population of your service area. You don't want to be another commodity within the industry – analyze what is needed in your specific location. Then you can work to diversify your services to serve as a one-stop-shop for individuals across the continuum of care. 

Explore partnerships (35:00)

  • Partnerships can offer a low risk with substantial reward, while still giving you the opportunity to explore entry and expansion in your service area. Potential partnerships can include referral sources, insurance plans or with other providers or private equity firms. This can also take form as an acquisition or merger. (More M&A info at 1:16:00)

Geographic growth vs. service line expansion (38:40)

It’s important to note there are different approaches to diversifying and growing your service footprint. Historic trends for agency growth centered mostly around geographic expansion, especially in home health. But more recent trends include expanding service lines to create care continuums and deeper local penetration. To really grow in scale, Johnson said organizations need to do both (39:30).

"The key is to develop unique competitive advantages aligned with where the market is headed,” Johnson said. “You have to find a way to differentiate yourself. I believe it's very difficult to differentiate yourself based on geography alone.”

Johnson recommends merging the two approaches by piloting additional service lines in one market, working out the kinks, turning it into a scalable business model, then expanding with experience and purpose. 

Capturing and analyzing data can also be helpful when your organization is ready to expand geographically. To hear more about Team Select Home Care’s predictive analytics growth model, listen in starting at 43:20, where Johnson explores how the organization went from a 60% to 95% success rate when standing up new offices and quickly gaining profitability.

Do’s and don’ts when expanding and diversifying your service lines (57:00)

Do’s 

  • Fully vet the idea before making any moves: Make sure you have full understanding of the market, what your strengths are, who’s your competition and your consumer base. Determine who your subject matter experts will be, as well as both internal and external resources.
  • Strategize and optimize your plan: Operationalizing the plan is key to success. Define the roadmap of the who, what, where, when and set the timeline for execution. Keep in mind the people, process and technology needed to support this endeavor. 
  • Measure what matters: Establish both short and long-term goals. Financial goals may not be hit instantly, so focus on key milestones, patient satisfaction, and remember to celebrate the little wins. 

Don’ts

  • Don’t try do it all: There are many different avenues you can take to build your business and diversify your offering – don’t try to do everything at once. 
  • Don't leave any stone unturned: While it’s critical to think about patients, clinicians and caregivers in this process, other operational aspects need to be considered. Think of your technology platform, current back office functions, staffing, etc. 
  • Don’t rush it: As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take time to work out kinks and obstacles to best understand and succeed in the new business.

Choosing the right technology (1:01:00)

If possible, your Electronic Health Record (EHR) software should scale to diverse communities and service lines across a continuum. But it's also important that your platform scales to various other extensions such as data analytics, consumer apps, mobile technology, virtual care and more. 

“You'll be 75% of the way there with your technology platform if you have the right EHR in place,” Johnson said. “Especially if you have an EHR that can be leveraged across multiple service lines.”

When choosing a technology platform, what additional things should you consider?

  • Choose a software that is easy to use. The platform should be simple, intuitive and scalable.
  • Ensure the platform is cloud-hosted and easily updates software without breaking your business. 
  • Hire top technology talent; it will be worth it in the long run to pay a little more to ensure this is done correctly.
  • Leverage open application programing interfaces (APIs). This will allow you to connect with the rest of healthcare by easily sharing and receiving data not only within your organization, but with outside providers.

Growing your services lines boosts revenue, creates efficiencies and drives outcomes across the care continuum – but not without the proper strategy, support and technology in place. Check out the full webinar here. 

 

 

Meet the Author

Neal Tilghman Blog Photo
Neal Tilghman · Senior Director & GM, Integrated Care

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