As increasingly engaged consumers demand more personalized, convenient care, health systems must look beyond the hospital walls to find the practices, tools, and technologies that have driven the success of other industries.
WellPath Health is doing just that.
The local system, which has served the community and surrounding areas for nearly fifty years, has responded to the increasing need of local patients to provide more outpatient facilities outside of their main campuses.
“Several years ago, we began speaking about plans to expand our ambulatory services in the communities we serve—services running the gamut from urgent and primary care to specialty care,” commented WellPath CEO, Jody Rentmeyer.
“In order to do so, we knew we needed to be smart with our resources, while at the same time creating experiences for the highest levels of patient engagement and satisfaction,” Rentmeyer stated. According to her, they quickly realized that they would need higher levels of sophistication in their planning than they had previously not employed.
It is becoming significantly more common for healthcare organizations to look to outside their industry to find technology solutions to solve some of their most difficult challenges. From EMR to revenue cycle management to patient engagement, technology has been playing an increasingly important and vital role.
For WellPath, their outpatient game plan was no exception.
A little over a year ago, they enlisted the help of RES to begin their ambulatory planning process. With STRATUS, RES’ powerful predictive analytics platform, WellPath has already been able to make many key decisions with confidence, keeping them in front of the ever changing healthcare landscape and in the right places for their patients.
“Unfortunately in the past, our organization had previously spent a lot of money and resources on tools and technologies that didn’t meet our expectations,” explained David Weichert, WellPath’s Chief Strategy Officer.
However, WellPath immediately saw the value STRATUS provided – it was the only system that had everything they needed to see to make a confident decision, all in one place. This was further solidified when WellPath used STRATUS to evaluate 5 parcels of vacant land that they already owned by comparing their locations to the RES’ recommendations.
“Right out of the box we were able to validate a few locations and come up with a preliminary strategy to finally move forward with our expansion plans. Several of our land sites matched the RES’ recommendations, but a few of them didn’t” said Weichert.
“For the ones that aligned, we used the procedure volume, payer mix projections, and FTE need estimates straight from STRATUS to build our business cases in record time and move forward with development,” he said.
For the remaining land sites, WellPath sold the ones that did not match the RES recommendations and held some of the others for later consideration in the event the markets developed further as time passed. For the validated sites, they selected the two best ones to begin working on in 2019.
There have already been other wins this year too.
According to Senior Manager of Growth, Jamie Carlyle, prior to STRATUS, WellPath was indecisive and hesitant on several expansion opportunities—an urgent care location, two adult care locations, as well as an OBGYN and multispecialty clinics including cardiology, hematology/oncology and orthopedics. The urgent care, adult care and OBGYN clinics were growth opportunities, while the multi-specialty site was a relocation. They were considering closing the adult care location completely due to high cannibalization and low volumes.
“We utilized the scenario modeling capabilities of STRATUS and located great sites for the urgent care, one adult care, and OBGYN. We also found an ideal location right in the middle of high demand with the right payer mix for the multi-specialty location. All expansion, relocation, and consolidation activities are now approved and in various stages of execution.
WellPath has since initiated a continuously rolling 3-year strategy that will comprehensively and efficiently cover their market, but also adapt to changing dynamics. With the use of smart data-driven tools and technologies, WellPath has become an expert in improving their organization’s strategic planning process, driving greater market share and efficiency across their ambulatory network and providing more convenient and accessible care to those they serve.
“Long gone are the days when patients expected to drive long distances, navigate crowded parking decks, and venture down long hallways to receive their care. Instead of asking our patients to come to us, we are committed to bringing the best care and the right services to our patients. At the same time, we are remaining financially strong for our communities and stakeholders,” said Rentmeyer.