I love this topic because it’s easy to miss the mark, especially since so many consultants and marketing firms misappropriate this term and don’t actually coach on value-adding. The idea of value-adding has come under scrutiny in light of the current trend of corporate acquisitions of primary care clinics and the rising patient expectation for comprehensive, patient-centered treatment (Abelson, 2023). This is because of how the healthcare industry is changing. There is a growing need to separate actual value addition from empty rhetoric when corporate companies acquire primary care operations. The demand for genuine, efficient value-adding solutions has never been greater due to the rise in patient expectations for a comprehensive healthcare experience. Don’t get me wrong, plenty do an absolutely amazing job, and their clients see great results, but more often than not, disaster strikes. Especially in the case of Joseph and Bonnie…
When Joseph and Bonnie opened their practice, they were die-hard, convinced that they only needed to practice their specialty and nothing else. If we stay true to our specialty’s expertise and principles, we shouldn’t need anything else in the practice to thrive. Although reasonable, this viewpoint failed to consider the changing expectations of healthcare consumers. Patients are increasingly looking for holistic healthcare that covers their current requirements and their long-term well-being, according to Yussof et al. (2022). This suggests Joseph and Bonnie’s single-focused strategy didn’t meet the patient’s desire for comprehensive care. Today’s patients want treatments that address their current health needs and promote wellness, including preventative and long-term health management. Thus, healthcare professionals who offer more services are valued more. So they went about building out a space with the money their mentor had given them and whatever they could find and were adamant that physical therapy was the only service to be offered. Once the space was open, they began marketing to orthopedists in the area and getting patient referrals. That’s when the opportunities opened up.
Patients started asking about ancillary services they didn’t have, making them feel like they looked silly. Patients asked about home fitness programs, nutrition, supplementation, and other specialties like Chiropractic or group fitness. The study by Patel & Singhal (2023) demonstrates the growing tendency of patients to seek comprehensive care. It showed that most patients favor healthcare facilities that offer various services under one roof. Patients increasingly view healthcare as a holistic activity. They want nutrition advice, exercise regimens, and alternative cures, not just specialist therapy. This shift in patient preferences fuels the desire for multi-service healthcare facilities that can meet several health and wellness goals. Initially, Joseph and Bonnie ignored it and kept progressing, growing at around 10%. They did a first-quarter review, and it was clear they were not on track to meet their financial freedom goals. They were convinced that something had to change, but they knew working harder to build new referring relationships was not scalable. They could only see so many patients daily, and hiring more therapists would add to their overhead. They needed a solution that minimized overhead growth while maximizing potential revenue.
Joseph and Bonnie started taking patient requests seriously and realized a clear pattern. Patients were looking for wellness, not just treatment. Patients wanted to know if they could have a one-stop shop for preventative and therapeutic care. This was a new concept to Joseph and Bonnie, but they began exploring it and found an incredible and vast potential revenue stream in things like product offerings, DME, and more. Such a change toward integrated healthcare delivery is consistent with the ongoing tendency within the pharmaceutical sector to develop into wellness providers with patient-centric services (Moreno, 2019). This represents a larger healthcare shift from treating sickness to promoting well-being. Pharmaceutical corporations are expanding their position to include disease prevention, wellness, and patient-centric services for different health needs. Patients want a single source of preventative and therapeutic care. At first, Joseph and Bonnie only wanted to add what they could manage and keep the specialty singular. However, it soon became clear that their patients were looking for a more sophisticated preventative care so they hired a part-time nutritionist who turned into a full-time nutritionist. They bought used fitness equipment and hired a part-time fitness instructor who turned into a full-time instructor (Joseph recently replaced this person as the full-time trainer because of his personal love of fitness; the perks of being the boss).
So what is value adding? Is it simply the addition of multiple complementary specialties into your practice? Maybe. Recent developments in primary and pharmacy care have demonstrated that value addition can be achieved by implementing cutting-edge health methods like digital medicines and remote patient monitoring (Smith, 2021). Value-adding extends beyond incorporating diverse specialties. Digital medicines and remote patient monitoring improve patient care and convenience. These strategies satisfy patients’ desire for individualized, accessible treatment, bringing value to a practice. It could also be the addition of community events, marble floors in the patient bathroom, or a cooling station with fancy refreshments. The true value add in a practice is unique to the patient community. It’s a matter of listening to the value-adds they seek and finding a way to accommodate them that supports the larger purpose and mission. If your practice is in a really nice part of town and you managed to get a great deal on space but are short on cash, it could be a matter of setting up one fancy area in your practice that you can afford to spruce up (it should also be functional, before you go replacing drapes). Whatever change you attempt needs to address two things:
- Patient requests – Surveys often help the most in this area
- Patient function – You want the value to add(s) to be usable in some way that improves the patient’s experience both individually and as a group
A fancy cooling station with multiple settings, fruit, vegetable-enhanced water, and more can get patients talking and feeling fancy. Often these changes can also help enhance the practice’s value, leading to expected increases in overall fees (a great way to supplement industry cuts in reimbursement rates for treatments). As the field of digital health develops, it’s important to consider incorporating technologies like telemedicine services or health-tracking apps, which enhance patient satisfaction and make healthcare more accessible (Patel & Singhal, 2023). Telemedicine and health-tracking apps should be integrated into healthcare practices. These technologies simplify patient care. Thus, these digital additions improve patient satisfaction and healthcare access while beautifying the clinic. Imagine that, your patients ask for 3-4 things, you implement them in a fancy, community-building way, and suddenly patients ask why you haven’t increased the prices. The implementation of value-added services that specifically answer patients’ demands, according to Moreno’s research (2019), could greatly increase patients’ willingness to pay for the offered services. This shows that when a healthcare practice meets patients’ needs, they value the services more. Because of the additional benefits, patients are often prepared to pay greater rates. Value-added services can help the practice develop financially. How great would it feel to not only feel that what you do and offer patients has a value that increases with time but that patients see this value and speak up about it when they don’t see a change?
Most marketing companies will tell you that it’s all about “interrupt marketing,” not “inbound marketing,” which is really community building. It is crucial to keep this in mind. Nevertheless, that community building, particularly in healthcare, may improve patient adherence and health outcomes (Yussof et al., 2022). Inbound marketing’s community building can improve patient engagement and health outcomes, according to Yussof et al.’s 2022 study. This strategy promotes patient-provider trust, belonging, and understanding, which improves treatment adherence and health outcomes. In contrast to interrupt marketing, inbound marketing can boost a healthcare practice’s success and patient satisfaction over time. This is because interrupt marketing is easily measurable in terms of deliverables. I mean that many of these marketing companies have to justify the money spent on them because the practice just isn’t seeing the growth they’re looking for. The marketing group convinced them that this laundry list of items would help enhance the practice and bring more patients. In the end, it provided a lot of great content to the practice, but no new patients. However, it’s hard to tell someone who has provided you with a great deal of content that you won’t pay them for their effort, no matter the results (unless you’re as results-oriented as I am).
I hope you’re starting to detect the pattern through this book because value-adding is just one more way to add value to your practice so that patients can feel each and every day they are in the practice that they can share together and help grow and strengthen the patient community. It’s important to take note of the growing emphasis on a community-based approach to healthcare, where patient-centered treatment and community engagement are considered essential to improving long-term health outcomes (Smith, 2021). This method personalizes healthcare and creates a sense of belonging that encourages patients to participate in their care. Thus, providing value to your clinic requires creating a supportive and engaging patient community. Value-adding will trigger massive growth through small interactions repeated over and over again. Such a strategy is increasingly being recognized in reimbursement models, according to Abelson (2023), which rewards practices that provide high-quality, coordinated, patient-centered care. Modern reimbursement models are rewarding high-quality, coordinated, and patient-centered care. This update acknowledges that constant incremental changes boost practice growth and success. Healthcare providers may navigate these new models and maintain financial sustainability by providing patient-centered care and incremental value through frequent engagement. Profit pools for such services are likely to grow the fastest (Patel & Singhal, 2023).
A wise man once said: “Better a little from a lot than a lot from a little.”
- Abelson, R. (2023, May 8). Corporate Giants Buy Up Primary Care Practices at Rapid Pace. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/08/health/primary-care-doctors-consolidation.html
- MOreno, C. (2019, September 25). Beyond the pill: Value-Added Services. Www.linkedin.com. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beyond-pill-value-added-services-diana-carolina-moreno/
- Patel, N., & Singhal, S. (2023, January 9). US healthcare developments in 2023 and beyond | McKinsey. Www.mckinsey.com. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare/our-insights/what-to-expect-in-us-healthcare-in-2023-and-beyond
- Smith, T. M. (2021, November 5). How value-added roles can transform medical education. Ama-Assn.org. https://www.ama-assn.org/education/accelerating-change-medical-education/how-value-added-roles-can-transform-medical
- Yussof, I., Ibrahim, N. H., Che Ayub, A., Ab Hashim, N., Choon, C. J., Chee, C. Y., Abdul Rani, A. A., & Hashim, H. H. (2022). Evaluation of pharmacy value-added services in public health facilities: Staff perception and cost analysis. Exploratory Research in Clinical and Social Pharmacy, 5, 100120. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rcsop.2022.100120
A Future Book Publication Note:
This article is based on the Chapter 10 of the Reuven Lirov’s book “Treat or be Treated.” It will be included in the forthcoming 2nd Edition book “Medical Billing Networks and Processes,” authored by Dr. Yuval Lirov and planned for publication in 2024. We will post more chapters on this blog soon.