Strategies to Fix Common Types of Hospital Leakage
In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, hospital leakage (migration of patients, referrals or procedures from your network to competitors) is a silent drain on profits. Hospital leakage comes in 3 principal forms: 1. procedure leakage, 2. referral leakage and 3. patient choice leakage. No matter the type, the patient’s care experience often diminishes when stepping out-of-network.
As such, curtailing leakage doesn’t merely bolster profits, but it also enhances patient satisfaction. This can lead to less duplication of tests and more effective communication between providers, ensuring the best continuity of care. Every instance of leakage points towards an existing gap in the patient or provider experience that likely needs attention and rectification.
The 3 types of Hospital Leakage & Strategies to Combat Each Issue
1. Procedure Leakage — by Your Providers
Procedure leakage happens when your providers take patients from your network to perform procedures elsewhere. Various reasons might influence this choice: higher remuneration at other facilities, scheduling flexibility, preferred surgical staff or equipment, or simply geographical convenience.
Some strategies for solving this gap could be:
- Tracking & Monitoring: Are you keeping track of your physicians’ procedure data? Utilize a data analytics platform to begin tracking key metrics, like percentage of procedures performed at competition hospitals and the service line/facility breakdown.
- Direct Feedback: Work with a team member the physician trusts to have a conversation about his/her preferences. Understanding why they prefer a different facility is crucial to stopping leakage.
- Stakeholder Communication: Use data-driven insights to communicate provider feedback to all stakeholders, including administration and staff. This could help your hospital in making major budgetary decisions to help increase its competitive positioning.
- Action Plan Development: Create an effective action plan based on the feedback. This could include investments in technology, improving clinical competencies or reviewing insurance coverage options.
2. Referral Leakage — by Your Providers
Referral leakage takes place when in-network providers refer patients to out-of-network providers. It could be due to perceived superior care elsewhere, geographical proximity, differing insurance coverages or established relationships between patients and out-of-network providers.
To manage referral leakage, a 2-pronged strategy may help in determining the source(s):
1. You may need to take a reactionary approach at first if leakage is high. Using data, try to understand who is receiving the referrals and why. Then, enhance communication with the referring provider and conduct a gap analysis to identify areas of improvement. Think — is there an easy way to solve or improve the issue?
2. Once you explore the most implementable tactics, then take a more proactive approach for early interventions. This could look like:
- Develop an onboarding plan for new physicians and provide them with a playbook that sets clear expectations
- Create an outreach plan
- Perform regular touch points with various stakeholders to ensure consistent adherence to referral protocols
- Incorporate EMR systems
- Send patients to a new provider
- Invest in referral tools, education, geographic analysis/medical neighborhoods
3. Patient Choice Leakage — by Your Patients
Patient choice leakage occurs when a patient decides to leave your network after seeing your provider. The causes can range from pre-existing relationships with out-of-network providers, geographical convenience, financial or insurance considerations, to effective marketing efforts by your competitors. Often, this is the case when a patient has a specific diagnosis, like cancer, and they seek care from the most well-known providers because of their superior marketing and branding strategies.
So, how can your hospital compete with these big name-brands?
As a first reactionary approach, you could pose your hospital as a second opinion, create compelling messaging to earn referrals back and conduct assessments to evaluate your team’s effectiveness. Regardless of the strategy at this stage, it’s important to remain realistic. Get honest with your key stakeholders and ask: Are we market ready? If not, adjust expectations, regroup, plan and then execute.
After a survey of the current situation is taken, a more proactive approach can be taken:
- Prioritize improving patient access to care through timely appointments, convenient locations, and easy referral processes
- Develop a strategic recruitment strategy — are you hiring former big-name brand employees?
- Implement effective communication strategies with referring physicians
- Provide hyper-personalized touches to make your smaller brand stand out
- Implement gorilla or grassroots marketing campaigns
Proactive Keepage Strategies
While it’s easy to focus on the various leakage, it’s equally important to remember to take proactive “keepage” strategies that will improve many areas of the business, like patient retention, revenue protection, brand image, quality of care and physician relationship.
Consider creating a comprehensive keepage playbook that includes a holistic strategy of combining proactive tactics with data analysis. This could include:
- Tracking referrals
- Employing referral coordinators
- Creating referral tools
- Building hybrid outreach teams
- Monitoring reports on new or declining referring physicians
- Referrals’ geographical analysis
- Refreshing lists of new physicians in market
Reduce Your Hospital Leakage
Marketware provides many options to help you manage this common issue, like our data-driven business intelligence platform that takes a close look at referral behavior among physicians and identifies trends and issues like leakage. Or, our state-of-the-art physician relationship management (PRM) platform that enables you to develop physician profiles and track outreach efforts. Request a demo with Marketware today!
Webinar — Physician Relations & Healthcare Analytics
Identify & Reduce Your Hospitals Leakage
Every hospital experiences leakage, it’s inevitable. But there are ways to reduce leakage and increase your growth, which is what we’ll be discussing in this webinar. Hear from Josh Cameron of Marketware and Anamika Desai…Watch the Webinar
Webinar — Physician Relations & Healthcare Analytics
The Hidden Value of Claims Data — 8.23.23 @ 1PM ET
Join Marketware’s Josh Cameron, Executive Vice President and Danielle Krystyniak, Director of Client Success, as they showcase examples of how organizations are using claims data to add value to provider relations.Register for Webinar