Why Healthcare Consulting is Important

Why Healthcare Consulting is Important

Why Healthcare Consulting is Important

The healthcare consulting sector has witnessed widespread growth in recent years. Increased access to health coverage across the country has led to more demand for services, resulting in new challenges for healthcare providers. 

But what is healthcare consulting exactly? Healthcare consulting helps organizations navigate the common challenges facing the industry. This has created high demand for advisory and consulting professionals to help providers manage increased patient loads and emerging organizational challenges. In effect, healthcare consulting has become an important part of the American healthcare system. 

WHY HAS CONSULTING RISEN

This begs the question: why healthcare consulting? Why not hire more doctors or increase direct employment?

It’s a fair question. The truth is, any organization, not just healthcare organizations, experiences this dilemma. When there’s a problem within a given system, is the answer more manpower or is a deeper dive needed to address a foundational inefficiency? Take a sinking boat, for example. Is the solution to get more hands shoveling the water over the edge to keep the boat afloat? Or does the crack in the hull letting water in need to be fixed? 

That’s where healthcare consultants come in. 

What does a healthcare consultant do? Their unique perspective on managing strategic challenges within the healthcare space offers a comprehensive look at the organization—they find the hole and plug it. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHCARE CONSULTING FOR PROVIDERS

There are several major factors that have caused a shift within the healthcare sector in the US, resulting in emerging challenges for healthcare providers across the country:

  • The Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to previously uninsured individuals, increasing patient levels
  • New technologies have emerged that can streamline health services, but must be implemented correctly
  • Providers are dealing with more complex and a higher number of managed care contracts
  • The process of managing a practice has become more difficult, with an increased need to focus on business growth to remain competitive
  • Costs of services have skyrocketed, making it more difficult to manage revenue cycles
  • Patient needs are shifting, with people expecting more from their healthcare coverage

Consulting firms are uniquely capable of assisting healthcare providers to meet these new challenges and adapt to shifts in the sector. 

Let’s take a quick look at six of the most important benefits that healthcare consultants offer the industry, before discussing some of the immediate effects consultants can have on a given practice. 

1. Better Patient Care 

More patients mean more efficient systems are needed for managing patient flow and retaining a high level of care. Consultants can help providers of all sizes manage their patient loads easier in several ways. 

  • Implementing a system for patient intake and onboarding
  • Managing appointments or walk-in systems effectively
  • Identifying areas where staff can provide better services
  • Presenting recommendations to directors on how to better manage patients

One of the chief goals of contracting consultants is to improve efficiency. The external perspective and the training that consultants provide are two major benefits in an industry that is rapidly changing. 

2. Business Acumen

Healthcare workers are usually focused on just that: healthcare. While it takes managerial staff and business acumen to allow the healthcare workers to do their jobs, the patient tends to come first, not the “business” of the hospital.

Healthcare consultants fill this gap, by providing strong business recommendations that a healthcare provider might need. These professionals can assist with several crucial activities that are inherent to the healthcare sector in the US:

  • Managing and negotiating contracts with managed care organizations
  • Monitoring reimbursement levels and revenue cycles
  • Creating a business model and strategic plan for the organization
  • Managing growth and profit-loss considerations

Of course, there are a wide range of other business-related benefits to hiring consultants. But the sheer business perspective that consultants offer is one that most healthcare practices can take advantage of.

3. Productivity Stimulator

Consultants are also productivity specialists. They stimulate workflow among members of staff by performing assessments to ensure everyone is doing their part. 

These full-sweeping productivity evaluations are difficult for healthcare providers to undertake themselves. For one, the work involved is taxing on both management staff, and the healthcare workers themselves. Second, internal bias can often sway the results—whereas a third-party consultant can be objective. These assessments:

  • Evaluate current productivity levels across the organization
  • Identify areas of strength and weakness
  • Develop recommendations for improvement
  • Implement the necessary changes and reward what’s already working

By contracting a consulting team to assess the efficacy of their day-to-day system, healthcare providers can stimulate productivity across the board. 

4. Unique Approach to Challenges

Consultants are also data, analytics, and technology experts. This means that they can provide a unique approach to challenges that a healthcare provider might be missing. 

  • Create a data-driven approach to improving operations and increasing revenues
  • Help your staff understand and implement technology into their day-to-day
  • Provide recommendations on available technologies that will stimulate organizational growth

Whether a consulting team is implementing new IT systems to improve efficiency or modelling and projecting revenue cycles, they enable tools most healthcare providers are lacking. 

5. Diversity of Thought

“Groupthink” can be a dangerous phenomenon for any business. Healthcare providers are no exception. 

Consultants counteract this potential by providing a diversity of thoughts and ideas for how to make decisions and improve the business. The top healthcare consulting firms employ a mix of competencies within their business:

  • Strategic consultants focused on business processes, sustainability, and growth 
  • Tech experts
  • Organizational and human resources managers
  • Marketing professionals
  • Lawyers and regulatory experts

The combination of these different thinkers can provide an unrivalled benefit to any organization, including healthcare providers. 

HEALTHCARE CONSULTING: IMMEDIATE EFFECTS FOR YOUR PRACTICE

If you are interested in contracting a consulting firm to assist your practice and meet the challenges ahead, it is important to understand the immediate effects that healthcare consulting can have on performance. There are four important effects that are worth noting:

  1. Increased efficiency
  2. Enhanced profits
  3. A more structured organization
  4. Value extraction

1. Increased Efficiency

Most healthcare providers, big and small, do not have the resources to manage and negotiate their payer contracts efficiently. Staff is either under-qualified or over-worked and cannot effectively complete these tasks. 

A healthcare consultancy can come in and immediately revamp your contract management and payer relationship processes. 

  • Review each contract currently under management
  • Identify the best contracts that are missing from a practice
  • Ensure that payers permit access to a given network
  • Standardize contracts so they are easy to manage once projects are complete

Not only will your practice be signing better contracts, but you will extract more value out of current contracts, stimulating growth. 

2. Enhanced Profits

It’s simple—better contracts equal enhanced profits. Hiring a healthcare consulting firm will mean deeper access to networks that may have hard to reach with your current practice. For example, Healthcents, your payer contract management partner, can revamp your revenue generation system through a tailored, step-by-step process. This helps your team:

  1. Build a strategy to increase profits with your team
  2. Coordinate directly with payers on contract negotiations and improvements
  3. Communicate progress on contract management consistently to stimulate an open learning environment
  4. Sign better contracts to increase patient levels and immediately impact profits

The best part? Your practice doesn’t need to do any of the legwork. Consultants will work directly with your staff to create a sustainable system moving forward, sharing competencies and skills that will be invaluable to your practice far into the future. 

3. Structured Organization

More efficiency plus increased profits results in a structured organization for years to come. Consultants are experts at building organizational competencies and cohesion. This process stimulates a work environment that will benefit the practice as a whole:

  • Increased role understanding among staff
  • Better informed employees will be equipped to handle business challenges
  • Less overlap between team members and enhanced ability to perform day-to-day tasks

Consulting firms are in a unique position to objectively evaluate a practice from the outside, providing useful structural recommendations that drive value. 

4. Value Extraction

The cost of hiring a direct employee to oversee these activities is steep. Consulting firms allow providers to immediately extract value from their services through employee cost savings. 

  • Realize ROE early by providing a clear strategy for profit maximization
  • Limited costs for services and no requirement to pay benefits 
  • Minimal administrative tasks as everything is handled by the consulting firm

The most blatant benefit of healthcare consulting is the blend of competencies that a provider can profit from without the commitment associated with bringing on new team members and training them. 

REVAMP YOUR PRACTICE WITH HEALTHCENTS

If you want a healthcare consultant that embodies all the benefits and immediate effects the sector has to offer, Healthcents should be your first call. 

With Healthcents, your practice will experience growth and work more efficiently from the start. Healthcents can transform your healthcare business in three distinct ways:

  1. Sign better contracts
  2. Negotiate higher rates with payers
  3. Expand your payer contract team 

Ready to get started? Contact Healthcents now and begin your journey to higher profits and simpler payer contract management. 

Sources:

Kindo, Lawrence. The Importance of Healthcare Consulting. https://www.medicalisland.net/medical-news/the-importance-of-healthcare-consulting

Potyraj, Julie. The Healthcare Consulting Field is on Fire. https://thedoctorweighsin.com/healthcare-consulting-a-career-field-with-growing-potential/

Potyraj, Julie. The Role of Consultants in United States Healthcare. https://www.ajmc.com/contributor/julie-potyraj/2017/03/the-role-of-consultants-in-united-states-healthcare