So you’ve been tasked with starting a service line, or your hospital is looking into the concept as a possible strategy. Why is an orthopedic service line a good idea and what benefits can you expect?
With increased reimbursement pressures coming in the form of bundled payments and quality outcomes measures, as well as increased competition for patients, service lines can provide benefits in two main areas:
1. Streamlined Process: When all resources and personnel are driven around a single system instead of being divided across departments, the process can be fine-tuned to drive out waste and improve staff efficiencies.
- Dedicated staff perform more of the same procedures, increasing their knowledge depth of certain speciality
- Inventory purchases can be optimized for the service to eliminate waste
- A cohesive team can form around a specialty, leading to increased collaboration and communication across former silos, which can improve patient safety
- Duplicative or wasteful workflows can be eliminated, resulting in cost savings and shorter length of stay
- Less variation in care (standardized protocols) can generate better outcomes and best evidence practices
2. Marketing benefits: The act of forming a service line can be used to position your hospital as having a “center of excellence” to target more of the profitable patients you are seeking.
- A hospital can differentiate itself from its competiton by marketing the service line differentiation points directly to the consumer
- An easier patient navigation process often leads to improvements gained in patient satisfaction
- Benefits of the new service line can also be marketed back to physicians to recruit new team members or increase referrals
- An orthopedic center or institute within a hospital can help with positioning against a stand-alone specialty hospital or ASC
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