As 2016 comes to a close, health systems—like most businesses and non-profit organizations—are deep into planning their growth strategy for the new year. Faced with rising consumerism in patient populations, increasing competition from traditional and non-traditional healthcare companies, and the continued transition to value-based reimbursement, leading health systems are looking to virtual care as a means of supporting organizational growth strategies.

Aligning Virtual Care with Health System Growth Strategy

Any way you slice it, adding a virtual care service line is a strategic business decision. Your virtual care strategy should reflect your health system’s big-picture growth strategy. But how, precisely, do the two tie together?

The Virtual Care SWOT

Every health system is different, with unique cultures, competitive environments and goals. However, many health systems face similar challenges and opportunities. When it comes to health system strategic growth planning, virtual care can help make the most of strengths and capitalize on opportunities while shoring up weaknesses and mitigating external threats.

Virtual care growth strategy SWOT analysis

Leverage Strengths

With a virtual care platform in place, health systems can:

  • Offer patients online access to their clinicians by staffing the virtual care service internally
  • Increase patient engagement and satisfaction through convenient access and digital tools that fit into their lives
  • Maintain high levels of clinical quality and capture structured data to support quality initiatives

Capitalize on Opportunities

Launching a virtual care service line can help health systems:

  • Attract and retain new patients – particularly younger generations who have yet to settle into a primary care relationship
  • Build a foundation for continued innovation and partnership with a virtual care provider committed to keeping clients on the leading edge
  • Strengthen or develop new contract relationships with large employers, insurers and/or educational institutions to drive revenue

Address Weaknesses

Virtual care can help health systems work within internal constraints by:

  • Leveraging marginal capacity to treat more patients with current staff
  • Meeting patient demand for convenient care and improve access without adding physical locations
  • Offering virtual care at a free or reduced cost to employees and their dependents to reduce overall healthcare costs

Mitigate Threats

Offering virtual care supports health systems through:

  • Staying in step with – and/or offering a point of differentiation from – competitors’ online service offerings
  • Supporting patient retention by offering a convenient, online access point
  • Creating a lower-cost channel to provide care to patients in value-based reimbursement populations

For more information on how virtual care can support organizational growth strategies, check out our free Best Practices Guide to Virtual Care  – your handbook for successfully launching, operationalizing and growing a virtual care service.

Download the Best Practices Guide today