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| 3 minutes read

How Asset Lite Strategies are Reinventing Acute Care

Is your organization asset-heavy, highly fragmented, regulated, and operationally inconsistent? Do your competitors always seem to get there first? If so, we can help.

Tomorrow’s healthcare consumers are expecting convenience, low cost, better outcomes, and a great customer experience. However, today’s healthcare delivery model is built on a high cost, low margin inpatient-focused business that is capital and labor-intensive. This dichotomy isn’t new. Other industries such as retail, hospitality, transportation, and aviation have experienced similar evolutions. Unfortunately, we continue to see health systems divert substantial capital to building and upgrading costly facilities, which require higher volumes and record-setting reimbursement payments to generate a return. Save for the highest growth areas in the U.S., revenue-cycle optimization and growth through footprint and facility ownership are relics of market-share-based strategies.

As M&A and acute care capital investment soar, healthcare continues to believe it can scale its way to value. But many of these deals combine underutilized and underperforming assets while missing opportunities for care integration and capitated maximization. Forward-thinking leaders are evaluating ownership, enhancing access channels, and trimming operating models (once Walmart, now Amazon). Tomorrow’s strategic footprint drivers will prioritize premium locations with exceptional experience and outcomes that are enhanced through integrated digital access. We believe hybrid models that bridge the reimbursement and legislative divide are available, but risky and short-lived if not coupled with a broader, more comprehensive strategic vision.

Thinking Beyond Tomorrow

Today’s innovative and highly disruptive companies adopt consumer-based values, brand equity, and improved outcomes.  Organizations that align themselves to positively impact chronic disease and risk-based management will be market differentiators, but investment timing is critical. We believe asset-light strategies require administrative discipline, operational efficiencies, cost management, and aligning providers through next-gen incentives and shared visions.

We Get It. This is Hard Stuff.

You still live in a fee-for-service world and must provide a level of acute, hospital-based services. And let’s face it - to truly embrace asset-light strategies will take substantial financial reform. But this isn’t all or nothing. Start to embrace asset-lite philosophies and decisions with a phased approach to your overall strategy. Identify locations that are operationally efficient ‘brand leaders’ and develop service distribution that prioritizes efficiency and competitiveness.  Evaluate ownership and instead of a sudden contraction of your community presence, look to downsize or optimize your current assets by augmenting them through operational and technological investments.

  • optimize IT platforms for access and scheduling
  • anticipate/orchestrate the components of an exceptional experience
  • repurpose and integrate services, functions, and capabilities within existing space
  • cross coordinate operations and services across multiple physical & digital channels
  • upgrade supply chain logistics to reduce duplication and costs
  • embrace and extend COVID era successes like touch-free check-in & pass-through waiting rooms
  • leverage data science and technology to enhance service and performance
  • cross-train staff to manage volume fluctuations and different services
  • take cost accounting seriously
  • and build the skills to incorporate value-based payment models – yes, we know it is risky, but starting at a small-scale build's skillsets for change. 

Dismantling the acute care mindset is daunting. It often requires cultural revolution and tricky resource decisions. Let us help you establish your own disruptive strategies that are consumer-focused, performance-oriented, and include innovative approaches to capital development. You can’t change the future trajectory of healthcare, but you can revolutionize how you respond to it. The only way is forward.

© Copyright 2022. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of Ankura Consulting Group, LLC., its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals. Ankura is not a law firm and cannot provide legal advice.


healthcare & life sciences, healthcare real estate, real estate, memo, f-performance, f-transformation

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