How publishing strategy online makes a difference for orthopedic institutions in value-based care

Practice Management

Fortune 500 companies develop strategies for success and publish strategy statements online to attract customers. The strategies are often clear and marketed as valuable to the target consumer audience. Healthcare institutions are now developing new strategies to survive in a value-based system, but not all are successful at devising and implementing these plans.

A study recently published in Current Orthopedic Practice compares websites for all academic institutions and nonacademic orthopedic institutions named on the U.S. News & World Report's top hospitals for orthopedics. Alan Job BS, Christopher D. Glezoz, MD, and Alok Sharan, MD, authored the study.


The researchers hypothesized academic institution websites would focus on research while nonacademic institutions would focus on patient satisfaction and experience; nonacademic institutions would post their strategy online while academic institutions would not post their strategy or outcomes.


The researchers examined institution websites for strategy statements and value outcomes scores. The strategy statements were then assessed for:


• Compassionate/individualized care
• Clinical expertise
• Patient education
• Comprehensive care
• Prevention and exercise
• Rehabilitation
• Research/technology
• Value-based care
• Location/ease of access


The outcomes scores included "any measure of clinical outcomes of the hospital."


The researchers found nonacademic institutions were more likely to have strategy statements on their websites; 95 percent of the nonacademic institutions had strategy statements, compared with 38 percent of the academic institutions. Twenty-nine percent of the nonacademic institutions published outcomes scores compared to 8 percent of the nonacademic group.


Nonacademic institutions had a higher rate of presenting several aspects of the strategy statement, including compassionate/individualized care, clinical expertise, patient education, comprehensive care, rehabilitation, research and technology, although many categories are vital for patients researching where to undergo their orthopedic care.


"Advertising these unique components of care provides nonacademic institutions a competitive advantage in attracting patients to their practice," wrote the study authors. "This is evidence that nonacademic orthopedic institutions understand the importance of marketing a healthcare model that consumer-minded patients believe is valuable to their care."


The study authors were quick to note that advertising unique and efficient care models wasn't an effort to provide care irresponsibly to achieve better patient satisfaction scores. The outcomes scores at nonacademic institutions included patient safety metrics along with postoperative outcome data, system efficacy and capability metrics.


"These outcomes scores are not broad, irrelevant, metrics presented as a marketing strategy; they are important and applicable outcome values that these top non-academic institutions were able to accomplish," concluded the study authors. The data transparency also creates a competitive environment where surgeons are driven to become more efficient and effective as a means to achieve the best outcomes scores.


Eighty-two percent of the academic institutions with strategy statements discussed research and technology, compared to 70 percent of overall nonacademic institutions. The academic institutions with strategy statements were more likely to focus on research and technology than any category besides comprehensive care. Academic institutions receive more funding for research, but "patients as consumers may find it less appealing to have their orthopedic health issues managed at an academic center that advertises their research but lacks information on factors that are important to them such as postoperative outcome scores and individualized comprehensive care models," wrote the study authors.


The researchers also found 67 percent of nonacademic institutions mentioned their desire to provide "cutting edge research and technology," supporting the importance of quality strategic statements. The U.S. News & World Report ranking system more heavily favors the research and quantifiable aspects of academic institutions, but 21 of the top 50 hospitals on U.S. News' list of best hospitals for orthopedics were nonacademic. Patients are more likely to respond to websites with their quality data posted and comprehensive strategy than research.


"In a value-based healthcare system, academic institutions may find challenges in competing if they do not develop a strategic business model oriented towards promoting factors of healthcare recognized as valuable by the patients," concluded the study authors.


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