When it’s time to pull the trigger on a new technology investment, particularly one with the potential to revolutionize care delivery in your health system, it’s tempting to shoot for the moon and include all the shiny bells and whistles. Like many large-scale improvements where change management is present, that is not always the best strategy. When developing a virtual healthcare business model, health system leaders need to balance the desire to employ the latest growth strategies with a systematic approach. A phased approach facilitates effective change management and the necessary checkpoints to support success.
Change Starts from Within
Health systems frequently start their foray into virtual care by offering the service internally to their employees. This strategy helps build acceptance and understanding of virtual care. It also helps get employees excited and become more knowledgeable about the service. Once your employees experience virtual care as a patient, they feel more comfortable recommending it to patients later on.
In addition to gaining buy-in from key employees, launching internally provides time to monitor the service and make any needed adjustments to the workflow. This means that when you are ready to expand to a broader population, your service is dialed in and working on all cylinders – for both patients and providers.
Grow With Confidence
After the initial phase, it’s time to grow your virtual care service by expanding your patient population. This may include current patients and/or the broader marketplace, depending on your acquisition and retention strategies as well as your regulatory environment.
This phase is the time to begin scaling your service beyond current patient population targets. Use your organizational strategy and virtual care goals to create a comprehensive growth roadmap.
Your plan may include adding employer and health plan contracts, integrating virtual care technology with internal systems, adding access points, or expanding the number and types of conditions that can be treated.
Whatever your scaling and integration plan includes, a methodical, step-by-step approach will serve you best. This supports analyzing the impact of each new addition and gives you the flexibility to make adjustments and optimize staffing to meet organizational goals.
Hit Your Stride
Being part of the virtual care revolution can be exciting – after all, you’re a pioneer on the forefront of innovative healthcare delivery. And, once you have a fully realized, mature virtual care service, innovation is the next step.
Virtual care is a rapidly evolving industry, and the sky’s the limit to its potential impact to your health system. Leading virtual care technology companies are beginning to expand into serving varied needs along the care continuum. For example, support for longitudinal care, such as chronic care management and post-operative care.
The growth and advance of technology is enabling ever-deeper systems integration, helping to eliminate silos and support greater connectivity throughout health systems. And expanding interoperability of your virtual care software is another way to be on the leading edge of healthcare information technology.
Moreover, by collaborating with your virtual care partner to offer the next generation of online care as a pilot site, beta tester or innovation partner, you give your clinicians and patients a voice in the future of care delivery.
Move at Your Own Pace – This Is Not a Sprint
Steady doesn’t necessarily mean slow. Following a phased plan for your virtual healthcare business model enables you to move as fast as makes sense for your health system. Healthcare leaders gain three main benefits from this strategic approach:
Change management: A systematic approach to launching, growing and optimizing your virtual care service can minimize the challenges that come with implementing a new service line. Effective change management relies on this type of phased approach. Being methodical and gathering information and feedback at every step will help set the stage for virtual care success.
Budget management: Launching a new service line means up-front investment – whether you’re going for traditional telemedicine access points like phone and video, or pushing into new frontiers with virtual care. Starting small, with a clear roadmap for scaling means more effective budget management, including the ability to strategically time capital investments.
Risk reduction: Innovation in healthcare is always a bit of a risk, but by starting small and scaling your virtual care service, you are mitigating the risk that comes with investing in something new. Starting small reduces risk by lowering up-front investment. And, using a documented plan to grow your service enables careful monitoring, which limits the likelihood of making an investment that doesn’t pay off.
Find out how one leading health system successfully employed a measured approach to launching their virtual care service. Get the case study.