I’m pretty good at sidestepping political conversations having learned long ago that innocuous topics are best for business conversations. However, it is striking to me that the dynamics driving current political discourse is also affecting our hospitals. Let me explain.
Politically, discussions used to align around Democrats vs. Republicans. While these labels still apply, the real factions are urban vs. rural. This divide is also prevalent in healthcare delivery.
In most urban areas there are dozens of hospitals and thousands of doctors to choose from. This is certainly true in Atlanta where I live. This is not the case for most of our rural areas. In Georgia, we have 159 counties. Nine of them have no doctors whatsoever. 64 or almost half do not have a pediatrician and 79 do not have an obstetrician.
Today, scale matters and scale is easier to achieve in the cities. For example, the top 40 US health systems had margins 17% higher than other health systems and 33% higher than independent hospitals. In locales where health systems had 50% market share, these facilities had margins 30% higher than facilities owned by health systems with less than 25% market share or independent hospitals with similarly small market share.
Unfortunately, there is far too much misinformation as a result of the politicization of healthcare delivery and payment.
How many people on your team know how many hospitals are in the U.S.? Could they explain the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? How exactly is healthcare funded in the U.S.?
These facts are important for our marketers to understand, because innovation derives from an understanding of this complex ecosystem.
We offer an excellent primer on Mastering the Healthcare Ecosystem. You can view it at your leisure on our website. Some teams may benefit from a live discussion. Reach out if you’d like to discuss that option.