This post is geared toward hospitals and health systems that are either working to build their ambulatory network, or those that currently have a network in place, but need to optimize it.
My advice to you: Start with the facts. And by facts, I mean data. By properly analyzing and interpreting your data you can clearly define where to place those ambulatory locations. And what service line to offer at each location. And which patients to market to (by service line) around each location. Sounds like a crystal ball, but really it's what we like to call patient analytics.
I know oftentimes hospitals have more data than they know what to do with (and it's usually housed in many silos), so what data should you bring to the table when performing an analysis for your market planning efforts?
1. Patient encounter data -medical coding, etc
2. Facility data - Sq footage, # of providers, composition of those providers, # of full time employees, etc
3. Patient-level data - Date of birth, patient characteristics, payor designation, etc
By gathering this type of data, you can answer a number of business questions that pertain to growing your network.
My competition has moved into the St. Louis market, have I fully saturated the market with the optimal number of clinics/facilities, or is there room for growth?
Am I offering cardiology at the right out-patient locations?
We have to grow, but need a directional guidance on which markets.
The list of questions that can be answered are endless. Just have to gather the data to get it started.