Sustaining Growth Amidst the Headwinds

By Dunston Almeida, Founder and CEO of triValence

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) and physician practice management (PPMs) are positioned firmly at the forefront of the shifting healthcare landscape. This is evident by the rapid pace of growth of the non-acute sector and the sustained shift of higher-acuity procedures to the outpatient setting as a convenient and cost-effective way for patients to receive high-quality care. However, while there are many reasons to be optimistic, achieving growth and success will significantly be determined by how adeptly ASCs and PPMs weather the headwinds, much of which was ushered or exacerbated by the pandemic. 

triValence was a marquee sponsor of the insightful discussion at McDermott Will & Emery‘s Physician Practice Management & ASC Symposium last month. However, the overall optimism was tempered by discussions about staffing shortages, shrinking reimbursements, and the rising cost of supply chain and staff retention. While these compounding challenges have stressed the entire healthcare sector, they are intensely hitting the non-acute providers. Especially right now, as they prepare for continued migration of higher-acuity patients from hospitals, greater demand for their services, and the push for value-based care, leaders of ASCs, PPMs, and non-acute centers must seize every opportunity to optimize their operations to drive efficiency and enable cost savings. 

The need, as so many times before, will be the creator of transformation, and as leaders of the non-acute sector design short- and long-term strategies to sustain accelerated growth, there are lessons learned from other industries worth considering that can drive the transformation of the entire B2B healthcare ecosystem.

Embrace Modern Technologies

When it comes to modern technology adoption, healthcare is typically focused on technology related to clinical care and much less on operations. In that regard, healthcare is notoriously behind other industries, such as transportation, hospitality, retail, or banking, that heavily rely on technology to scale their business, create better customer experience, and optimize their operations. Moreover, the non-acute subsector is even slower to adopt technologies and still uses paper or legacy systems for operations and communications. 

Payment and procurement processes are often overlooked, and untapped areas of operations, yet automation can make a significant financial and operational difference. By automating manual, time-consuming, and labor-intensive tasks, technology-driven innovative solutions can alleviate the burden on providers and administrators so they can spend more time focusing on patient care. 

Adopting modern and flexible technology automated solutions tailored to the needs of ASCs and PPMs should not be delayed. It will help the non-acute providers navigate the ongoing workforce challenges and allow them to achieve operational excellence and increase productivity at a much greater level. 

Unlock the Power of Data 

Financial pressures, including continuing inflation and shrinking reimbursements, coupled with the shift toward value-based care (VBC) payment models, will necessitate robust data analytics capabilities. PPMs and ASCs will require more than a skilled workforce to manage the shift to VBC models, especially bundled payment. They will also need sophisticated tools and technology to drive efficiencies and demonstrate the value and patient outcomes. In addition, intelligent technology solutions can provide greater visibility of crucial data and more accurate forecasting, which is necessary for preparing ASCs, PPMs, and non-acute providers for the VBC shift.

Moreover, harnessing data currently in silos will allow for much more accurate and efficient spending management – another obscured and untapped area for achieving cost saving while weathering financial pressures and uncertainties.  

Put Your Customer at the Center  

Modern technologies profoundly changed how businesses interact with customers who demand convenience and choices. Financial services paved the way for the transformation, giving rise to an entirely new industry – fintech –underpinning the successful transformation of transportation and hospitality that can scale their digital capabilities and resources to reach more customers.

Investment in data-centric strategies enables your organization to be more customer-centric amidst the shifting power dynamic that gives the customer more control over the direction businesses take. This is another area where B2B has some significant catching up to do with B2C strategies. However, that revolution hasn’t trickled down into the B2B ecosystem, and there are few advanced customer-facing technologies. 

This is what triValence aims to change by building a platform that has the potential to significantly improve how ASCs and other non-acute providers operate and manage their supply chain processes, all while enhancing staff satisfaction amidst the ongoing labor shortage, tightening reimbursement and rising supply expenses. 

Suppliers, too, will benefit because platforms that integrate procurement and payment processes will minimize variations and errors, overcome fragmentation, and strengthen the relationship with their customers – providers. The power of data from such innovative solutions can enable better business decisions and predictive models. Now more than ever, it is vital that leaders across the entire ecosystem ensure that the data they are using are accurate and at their fingertips. 

Bringing the same customer-centric approach to the healthcare B2B ecosystem by leveraging the best of fintech and the same consumer trends we now take for granted in our private life will help overcome fragmentation and create much-needed resiliency and agility. Only such reimagined healthcare ecosystem can meet the evolving needs of the most important customer – the patient. 

These strategies require a mindset shift, untraditional partnerships with like-minded but complementary organizations, and specific investment. Still, they will help your organization harness the tailwinds and future-proof your growth.

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