The Transformation of Ambulatory Care
Ambulatory care is undergoing a fundamental transformation. Physicians are increasingly employed by hospitals, health systems, payers and most recently, private equity firms. Strategic partnerships such as with Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have superseded M&A as a local market growth strategy. Consumer segmentation based on values, beliefs, priorities, attitudes, and lifestyle is becoming essential to attract, engage and retain patients. Value-based care is driving business models focused on fewer emergency department visits, hospitalizations and re-admissions.
Physician engagement and alignment, strategic partnerships, consumerism and value-based contracts are all critical components of an emerging ambulatory strategy.
As care shifts to alternative settings, the need for strong physician leadership and clinician engagement is essential to the viability of any ambulatory strategy. Organizations must work collaboratively with their most valuable resource, aligning incentives with quality outcomes. Organizations must also understand and continuously adapt to the everchanging needs and desires of the patient populations they serve. Strategic partnerships (Involving preventive services and home health, walk-in/urgent care, employer-based services, ambulatory surgery or post-acute care) can help ensure organizations are effectively meeting the needs of even the most at-risk patients and ensure seamless care delivery across the continuum.
Beyond simply understanding, the rise of consumerism has and will continue to require organizations to alter their approach. While an effective digital strategy and evening or weekend hours may target younger professionals, the need for health coaching, behavioral health and prescription reconciliation target alternative patient segments. Expanded access and ancillary service offerings are intended to establish a certain level of patient “stickiness” and alignment.