Healthcare providers come in many shapes and sizes, from small medical practices and clinics to pharmacies, imaging centers, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living centers, and more. There are small community practices with just a few employees and systems at one end of the continuum; and large hospitals, biotech firms, and pharmaceutical companies at the other, managing hundreds or even thousands of employees and systems.
What all of these healthcare provider organizations, small and large, have in common is that they are almost unswervingly focused on their own particular healthcare goal, usually centered around getting a better solution for the patients they serve.
Due to the unique nature of healthcare businesses, as an industry this often means that institutional knowledge and expertise is “home grown” or evolved internally. While this approach means that specialist expertise is deep, it’s not often very broad or necessarily up-to-date in terms of the newest ideas and approaches.
This can mean that providers may spend longer than necessary “reinventing the wheel” developing tools well-known outside their doors, and be missing out on business practices that could fast track or streamline their current efforts considerably. This kind of external idea input is best achieved by engaging in rigorous benchmarking approach, and external management consultants are often best placed to help a provider of any kind to do this.
Benchmarking can be done in two ways: either in process terms within the industry (in this case, healthcare) or in broader comparative terms with completely different industries.
Approaches to Healthcare Consulting
Process Benchmarking Within the Healthcare Industry
This approach typically involves looking at the scope of the work done by a healthcare provider, and breaking this down into tasks and processes as part of an initial audit phase.
Then, by measuring individual processes or series of tasks, the consultant can compare them to how other providers carry out these equivalent tasks.
Examples of processes or tasks evaluated by external consultants:
- Receiving Patients
- Capturing Patient Data
- Completing Medical Procedures
- Billing Effectively
- Managing Costs
Once gaps and weaknesses are identified, steps can be taken to close them and even find ways to be better, fast or more cost-effective.
Broad-based Benchmarking in Other Industries
Although healthcare provider processes can be compared to companies in other industries with care to ensure we are truly comparing “apples and apples,” broad based benchmarking is often about new of different approaches.
New developments in systems and technologies from an external industry may be suited for importing into healthcare. An external consultant will have experience and education in new processes, and be able to evaluate them for your healthcare organization.
Candidates for new processes are often used in functional areas of a healthcare organization, like marketing, operations, finance, asset management or HR. They may be implemented in the patient practice space via software, people / team engagement or setting goals and objectives.
CEO-RX4 Group-The Business of Healthcare