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The current economic conditions and pressures facing health systems are affecting the way buyers look at purchasing and investments … and can have an impact, whether a product or service is generally funded from capital or operating budgets, on how an offering is perceived and received by prospective healthcare customers.

Recent reports from The Health Management Academy, McKinsey and Kaufman Hall, among others, reveal some consistent patterns that should be taken into account when developing strategies for sales and marketing of healthcare products and services selling into these systems:

  • Margins, while improving, continue to be negative and under tremendous pressure
  • Significant shifts in sites of care (outpatient, home) are changing the emphasis for systems
  • Innovative treatment of chronic conditions at lower costs and with better outcomes are being explored
  • Workforce challenges including short-term staffing and long-term pipeline development continue to influence decision making

The Academy emphasizes that when selling to health systems, it’s important to strike a balance between internal and external challenges … workforce solutions continue to be a huge priority but investments to position for long-term success with consumers remain important, including digital strategy and overall consumer strategy.

Still, for the short term, and for certain organizations (especially smaller hospitals or health systems), simply maintaining financial solvency and viability — by accelerating cash flow and reducing variable costs — will take all their focus and attention.

If an organization has services or products that can immediately make a positive impact on either generating revenue or reducing costs (or both!), make sure that message is being clearly communicated to the right audience … and in the audience’s terms.

In addition, many health systems are recognizing that developing strategic partnerships … beyond vertical integration or M&A … can be the path to innovative solutions to some of the most complex challenges they face.

New ways of thinking about healthcare transformation are likely to be on the agenda for leadership teams as they seek to improve both the consumer experience and their bottom lines. So consider how to present the features and benefits of any offering, AND the value it can bring to the customer.

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