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"Packaging" Healthcare Services Together

Posted Oct 14 2008 4:48am 1 Comment

by Tony Chen

I've always heard people say that we in the hospital industry tend to have a "product-centric orientation, instead of a customer-centric one." Often times, that comment references the fact that we are typically structured organizationally by service line or by specialty, not by customer segment. For example, typical hospitals don't have a "Director of Services for Men in Their 30s and 40s." Sure, we offer screenings for prostate cancer, heart disease, and can deal with tennis elbow. We have primary care physicians, and we might even have fitness coaches. But a guy would literally have to bend the rules of the universe to get access to all of these services on the same day, in the same place. Yes, we have "women's services", but aren't these services primarily about OB/GYN services?

[More:]

Imagine a place where a woman could come in for a yoga class, get a pap smear, get a manicure, pick up some diapers, pick up her child from childcare, and then go to a potty training class - all at the same place. There is in fact a place like that - the Antares Institute of Integrative Medicine in Illinois (featured here in the Chicago Tribune health blog). This strategy seems to be a niche strategy with a laser focus on the new mom.

You can start to imagine both the possibilities as well as the real difficulties in extending this model to hospital care. Some specialty hospitals seem to succeed in this for one particular patient (most commonly, pediatric, heart, or cancer), but beyond that, it's hard to point to good examples. The primary challenge is the need to spread out highly specialized resources across a lot of different facilities - it would just be a logistical and scheduling nightmare.

Does anyone know of good examples of this? Any opinions of whether this is even a worthy strategy to consider?

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