BI In Retail-Based Clinics
Distributing patient point-of-care away from large hospitals is
a growing trend many countries. Today, health clinics are found
in large retailers, retail malls, corporate office locations, schools,
community centres and sports & fitness centres. Whilst this
model delivers significant benefits, it is not without risk. For
this reason, retail based clinics require a greater diversity of
business intelligence applications.
Forces Driving Retail-Based Clinic Growth
There are a number of forces driving retail health care:
- Changes in patient perception of health provider
- from employer provided, insurance paid health treatment from
hospitals and large medical practice groups, to more complex health
plans and increased responsibility for costs. This is forcing
competition among healthcare providers to provide healthcare delivery
points closer to the patient.
- Changes in retail models – clustering
of service and support businesses around large retail stores to
generate additional foot traffic in high-margin product lines
associated with the hosted business.
- Change in payment models – as consumers
are accepting more responsibility for payment of their own health
treatments, cost is more visible and convenience a much stronger
consideration. Health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts,
high-deductible plans and a higher potential denial rate for covered
services, are all driving new business and payment models.
These drivers are spurning opportunity for health providers to
deliver healthcare closer to patient populations and do it more
cost-effectively. This is not without challenge, and it is in overcoming
these challenges that Business intelligence is being employed.
BI Needs in Retail Clinics
Health clinics require:
- Clinical decision support
- Clinical guidelines at the point of care
- Clinical quality measurement and compliance
- Patient Information Management
- Claims Management
Benefits of Business Intelligence in Health Clinics
The key areas that benefit from BI applications include:
Demand Management – whilst a major health
service provider may have control over the flow of patients, clinics
in retail locations are exposed to changes in local traffic resulting
from unusual events such as epidemics. Resource and capacity planning
is can be quite volatile, leading to overloading in waiting areas
and excessive waiting times.
Growth Strategy - demographic profiles must be
aligned with resource profiles. Many retail clinics have been set
up based on younger, convenience seekers. If this demographic changes
to older population sections, facilities may become inappropriate.
Cross-Sell - Retailers are ruthless in getting
return on investment on every square foot with sub-tenants competing
for space. This may lead to poor clinic practices, with pressure
to create sales for co-located pharmacies, health foods, and grocery
items. Medical workers placed under pressure impacts their professional
clinical judgment. It is imperative that any ‘unhealthy’
trends be detected early, so that value to all parties is maintained
in a healthy balance.
Understanding Consumer Behaviour – Consumers
can be equally as ruthless about the products and services they
buy. Lack of treatment follow up may miss patients who have not
made follow up appointments as requested. The clinic must know whether
this is due to lack of care on the part of the clinic or patient,
or whether treatment has been sought elsewhere. Analysis of consumer
buying patterns is critical for complete end to end healthcare management.
Service Development and Quality – as the
number of clinics increase, so does competition. This drives reduced
revenue from price cuts and increased costs from engaging specialized
staff and equipment. Balancing the positive health benefits with
detrimental business benefits may be at the expense of service or
quality. Data and process flow is extremely important to monitoring
and analysing quality.
Operational Management – staffing cultures
are different in retail locations, with some staff feeling isolated
from peer groups and lack of support from specialists. This can
lead to abnormally low staff satisfaction and consequently high
turnover. Monitoring for staffing patterns and trends in satisfaction
rates is necessary.
Public Health Reporting - disease and infection
control are important both for the clinic and the main store. Regulatory
requirements must be tracked and monitored to ensure constant vigilance
to any danger zones.
Retail-based clinics aim to bring healthcare closer to the market
in a cost-effective manner. To ensure the clinic survives both operationally
and financially, data must be used to make evidence-based decisions.
Active use of business intelligence ensures that clinics make the
best use of data for clinical, business and financial success.
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