Growth in Outpatient Services

Outpatient services increased dramatically in status in the healthcare system over the past two decades as the system has moved towards increasingly integrated and, ultimately ideally, seamless provision of care. The trend toward providing services in less expensive and less intensive surroundings and facilities, encouraged by the march of technology and by pricing and reimbursement pressures, is further accelerating these trends. The role of outpatient services in organizing and delivering physician, dental, and other professional services is continuing to evolve. However, the fundamental realignment of the nation’s health care system, driven by technology, quality concerns, cost and reimbursement imperatives, and by the desires of consumers, is now set in place and is irreversible.

In this LearnScape, the main urgency care facility within the Bright Road Healthcare System has experienced a marked decrease in returning customers. The student will evaluate the patient experience within the facility from appointment scheduling through the visit with the staff and physicians. The patient experience evaluation elements include clinical, process, and environmental elements. Assuming this urgent care facility is physically located in the student’s community, he or she will also be expected to identify external factors that may also be attributing to the decline in client volume.

In order to reduce the burden on local emergency rooms and better meet the needs of communities, many hospitals and healthcare systems are opening primary and urgent care facilities. These satellite locations are relatively inexpensive to open and operate, and they provide a wonderful opportunity to cultivate patient-provider relationships, promote health and wellness (prevention), and funnel clients to the main hospital or medical center when more sophisticated clinical and or diagnostic services are necessary. We, as healthcare administrators, need to view these satellite locations as freestanding business units that incur operating costs (e.g., labor, supplied, equipment, rent or mortgage expenses, insurance expenses, etc.) and generate operating revenue. As is the case with virtually all businesses, repeat business and referrals are an important component of sustainable growth and financial viability. This LearnScape examines factors that are impacting the volume of clients seeking services through Bright Road’s urgency care facility with a focus on the perceptions of clients and personnel. Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t atypical. In fact, the perceptions of customer service and quality may vary widely between those receiving the care and those delivering the services. Now, while it’s true that internal factors may contribute to a decrease in repeat business and referrals, there may also be external factors that can impact client volume. For example, increasing competition in the local market, pricing strategies, alternative care models, availability of inputs (e.g., skilled labor), bargaining power of suppliers, and so forth can lower demand for certain services. While this LearnScape focused on internal determinants of lower volume, it’s important that we, as administrators, look also to the external factors when making decisions on how best to change the negative trajectories that are impacting demand and the financial viability of the entity.

ULO #1: Compare and contrast inpatient and outpatient service delivery settings. (CLO 3, 4, 5, and 7)
ULO #2: Examine the impact that internal and external factors have on the operational and financial performance of healthcare facilities. (CLO 3 and 7)
LearnScapes Scenario
Initial Posting
Peer Responses
(Initial Posting). Students are to complete the LearnScape for Health Care Marketing: Episode 3: Patient Satisfaction (Scenario).

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Patient Satisfaction

Based on the information provided in the scenario and on an outside review of the relevant literature, and taking into account external factors impacting Bright Road’s urgent care facility’s operations, students will prepare a formal recommendation to the Director of Marketing intended to spur necessary changes to the operation that will change its trajectory and put it on a path to short- and long-term success. The recommendation needs to be well supported, logically presented, and thoroughly vetted.

Important Note: Assume that Bright Road’s urgent care facility is located in your geographic area. This will be important when taking into consideration external factors that may be influencing the pattern of client volumes.

Online Students: The initial response . (CT). Respond to a minimum of two peers’ initial postings. The peer responses . (CT),

Blended Students: The initial response is to be posted to the unit discussion thread at least five (5) hours PRIOR to the scheduled class session. Respond to a minimum of two peers’ initial postings. The peer responses are due by 11:59 p.m. (CT), on Sunday.

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