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Why healthcare should be treated as a business

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if it were not being run by money? We earn money, we spend money, and we repeat this cycle. Ever since the concept of business emerged, so many different forms of the industry have prospered. 

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if it were not being run by money? We earn money, we spend money, and we repeat this cycle. Ever since the concept of business emerged, so many different forms of the industry have prospered. 

Healthcare is a business, too. It appears to be an industry that exists to serve other people, but one cannot ignore the fact that healthcare also generates money. People go into healthcare to build careers, to be able to attain a certain lifestyle, and to thrive financially. 

As a business, people pay for the healthcare services they receive from professionals, either through their insurance or out of pocket. Just like every other business, healthcare can be optimized by implementing strategic business models. Not only will this make it possible for healthcare firms to perform more efficiently, but it will also make healthcare accessible to more people with better resources. Here are some strategic business models that work for healthcare firms around the world.

Healthcare business models

Before we dive deep into the different models, it is important to emphasize that modern-day businesses keep the customer first. Everything has to revolve around the needs and demands of customers. If the customer is happy, they will want to be in business with a healthcare firm for longer, so this industry has to treat patients just like customers. Every business strategy has to be designed keeping the end goal in mind: happy patients.

Product leaders

The product leader business model, as the name suggests, sees any business that implements it aiming to be the best in its field. Healthcare firms that choose to use this model will therefore have some of the most advanced and high-tech solutions available for their patients. Product leaders have the confidence to take on very complex care needs as well, such as unique or rare diseases, the elderly, and people with disabilities because they have the resources to help.

Product leaders don’t have small hospitals with limited expertise where they need to refer tough cases to bigger institutes. They are also very up-to-date with technology and are known to use innovations such as artificial intelligence to make healthcare more beneficial and effective. The work culture as a result of this model promotes innovation and creativity at every level.

Experience leaders

This is the business model that keeps customer satisfaction as its top priority. The experience that is provided to the customers is considered to be very important in encouraging them to return to the business. When a hospital chooses to prioritize the patient experience, they ensure that patients feel seen and heard. Communication is top-notch, and clarity is given a lot of importance. The patient is involved in the planning phase of the prognosis, and even the money and bills involved are kept very transparent. Patients who recover are kept in contact using digital platforms to provide aftercare services.

Different IT systems are also used in this model to create databases consisting of relevant patient data that can be used to deliver good-quality care. It is often customized for individual patients.

Integrators

Businesses that choose this model make their mark on the industry by expanding their scope and scale. This means that they have a strong and widespread network that can be found in many regions across the country or even the world. The focus on costs is kept as low as possible to enable expansion. By having a branch available in different regions, it is possible for more patients to have better options, especially those with financial constraints.

The expanded network doesn’t have to be restricted to full-fledged hospitals, it could also consist of small clinics or retail outlets that offer healthcare. Naturally, they won’t be able to cover a wide array of health problems, but they do provide accessible healthcare for a lot of people. They must have a strong grasp on technology to be able to transfer data across all of their locations.

Health managers

This business model is slightly different because the firms that use it don’t operate exactly like a normal hospital or clinic would. The focus of this model is devising plans and strategies to improve healthcare for an entire population rather than focusing on a small group of patients at one time. Firms that use this model have to focus on various contributing social parameters as well. They need to involve public sector workers and employers in policy making because improving healthcare on such a wide scale requires the participation of more stakeholders.

These healthcare organizations also work actively to create and offer incentives for other organizations so they are motivated to change their practices. This model also factors in the economic condition of the state, city or country to be able to determine the financial considerations of bringing about medicinal improvement for an entire community.

Business philosophies applied to healthcare

In addition to the business models that are applicable to healthcare, there are some philosophies that can be applied as well. Here is a closer look at how two of the most popular business philosophies can be applied to healthcare.

Six Sigma

This is a philosophy that was started in the 1920s. It aims to produce a final product that does not contain any flaws. Although it may not be possible to ensure that every product or service is perfect, this philosophy helps businesses to minimize their losses. When applied to healthcare, Six Sigma means evaluating each process at every stage that leads to providing care to identify any potential causes of concern. This can minimize the wasting of resources, money and time. Only the best processes are used to make sure that the hospital or firm performs in a sustainable fashion.

Kaizen

This is a Japanese concept that was originally meant for self-improvement by figuring out how one can live a fulfilling life. It was later applied to the business world to essentially improve existing practices. Kaizen is a philosophy that insists that every stage and every level involved in the business needs to be re-evaluated. No matter who the employee is, whether it’s a seasoned specialized doctor or an intern on their first medical round, every performance needs to be seen to identify things that can be changed. It also promotes the concept of time management so that unnecessary processes are eliminated.

Both of these concepts involve reducing wasted time and money and promoting optimized products and solutions. Businesses that use these concepts have a better chance of outperforming their competitors. Healthcare should be focused on using these philosophies to the best of their abilities to make improvements.

Medical professionals often take on patient-facing roles in healthcare, but healthcare businesses also have administrative departments, human resources, boards of directors and other areas where business professionals are needed. 

If you want to be in the healthcare industry, you don’t necessarily need to become a doctor or a nurse; you can also enter the field as an MBA graduate. After all, who would be better positioned than an MBA to explain Six Sigma vs. Kaizen to healthcare teams? Spring Arbor University has an excellent online program that enables you to earn this degree. You will learn all the aspects of a successful business. Even if you are already working as a healthcare professional, you can always choose to earn a business degree online in your spare time to give you the tools you need to make your organization better.

Conclusion

The healthcare industry plays a very important role in any country’s economy and quality of life. People need healthcare around the world, so this is one industry that will never cease to exist. It will, however, constantly shift and adapt to changing times and needs, especially with the advent of technology.

No matter how much we want to believe otherwise, healthcare is a business, and just like any other business, it needs to follow certain models and philosophies that have a successful track record in different industries. Understanding these models and philosophies is essential for making significant improvements in healthcare. 

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