Strategic Themes

How to Create Your Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy

The Impact of COVID-19 on healthcare systems Part 2

In part 1, we covered the new reality faced by healthcare systems. In this post, we look to the future and help you plan your post-COVID-19 Growth strategy.

Apart from its devastating impact on healthcare systems, it has had a major impact on the healthcare technology community.

If you are a leader of a healthcare technology company, in addition to battling through the current crisis, you have to develop a plan for how to accelerate out of the curve, when this finally passes.

In this post, we cover how you can develop a post-COVID-19 growth strategy.

Our goal is to equip you to take action and accelerate out of the curve as the COVID-19 crisis passes. We have developed a three-step process.

How to Create Your Strategic Action Plan

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy

Step 1 – Pick your strategic themes

We have developed seven strategic themes that we see as the growth areas after the crisis has passed. Your first step is to determine in which of these areas you can make the biggest impact.

Step 2 – Select your individual strategies

Once you have picked your strategic theme, download the Strategic Options sheet. This provides you with a long list of strategies within each theme. You can brainstorm more strategies and add them to the sheet as you come up with them. The sheet is designed to help you evaluate which strategies are best for you to pursue with a simple way to rate the value of each strategy. Once you have your top 3-5 post-COVID-19 growth strategies, it’s time to develop a game plan

Step 3 – Develop your strategic action plan

Now you have a priority list of strategies to pursue, it’s time to turn this into a plan. The Strategic Planning Template is a simple step-by-step framework to help you create a game plan. Take your top three strategies and try them out and start to create a robust Post-COVID-19 Growth strategy plan.

If you have questions or need help, please reach out. We are here to help.

How We Identified The Strategic Themes

Analysis – Seven Big Themes

Over the last few weeks, we spoke with dozens of healthcare system and technology vendor execs. This was supplemented with a review of articles by analysts and other experts.

We then identified the seven most critical issues and opportunities that healthcare systems will have coming out of the crisis.

These seven strategic themes are buckets of needs that healthcare systems will have after the Post-COVID-19 crisis. Any of these can be the foundation of your Post-COVID-19 growth strategy.

  • #1Strategic Theme – Save healthcare systems money
  • #2 Strategic Theme  – Accelerate the healthcare system’s shift to virtual care
  • #3 Strategic Theme  – Help healthcare systems improve the way they train and share knowledge
  • #4 Strategic Theme  – Protect healthcare systems from cybersecurity attacks
  • #5 Strategic Theme  – Make healthcare systems operations more efficient
  • #6 Strategic Theme  – Help healthcare systems capitalize on their data
  • #7 Strategic Theme  – Improve healthcare system resiliency

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Themes

#1 Strategic Theme  – Save healthcare systems money

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you significantly lower the costs for a healthcare system?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Saving Money

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, healthcare systems have had to switch off many of their normal revenue streams (e.g. elective surgeries). The financial impact on their 2020 business is catastrophic. In the long term, it will be hard for healthcare systems to operate as they have done in the past.

For the foreseeable future, saving money, saves jobs, including the jobs of people you are selling to.

Healthcare systems have been trying to save money for decades, and this became more important with the change in payment models. The old normal was to look for incremental savings. The new COVID-19 normal requires dramatic savings.

What does this mean to you?

At a minimum, you have to show your healthcare system customers how you can save even more than they were saving before. This is the new price of admission. If you can’t show them big savings, watch out for a competitor who will undercut you.

The winning play is to find major savings. Can you offer a new way of delivering your service that costs them less, or at least has less of an impact on cash flow? That might mean moving a monthly subscription fee.

In the Strategic Options list, we provide a list of ways you can save hospitals money. Use this as a starter list. You can come up with many more. The bottom line is that if you can’t help improve your customers’ bottom line, don’t count on them doing business with you for long. And if you can find a way to significantly lower costs, prospective customers will HAVE to look at what you offer. We believe that this is the #1 way to disrupt your competition.

#2 Growth Strategic Theme  – Accelerate healthcare systems’ shift to virtual care

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you help healthcare systems deliver virtual care at scale?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Virtual Care

Virtual care includes telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital therapeutics, and any technology that makes it easier to treat and manage patients in their home, office, or non-healthcare facility. It will underpin the continued shift to value-based care.

Virtual care has become critical during the crisis. Once the crisis dies down, will this continue? It seems likely that it will.

Healthcare systems fall into two camps, those that have invested heavily in virtual care for a decade and those who have been scrambling to catch up in the last two months. The first group has been able to scale up their telehealth and remote patient care. The second group is struggling.

Beyond the COVID-19 crisis, virtual care has many benefits. It costs less (see #1) and it is more convenient for the patient.  

However, it is not a given that the shift to virtual care will stick

There is a limit to what you can diagnose virtually and without the patient having specialized equipment, it is hard to record many of the vitals such as blood pressure readings.

Anecdotally, we hear that in some of the countries that are starting to come out of the COVID-19 crisis, virtual care is going backward.

Some physicians, who started using telehealth over the last two months, are now abandoning it as they go back to 100% in-person appointments. How can you help healthcare systems make a permanent shift?

The exciting opportunities in virtual care are ahead of us

The Internet of Things (IoT) is only in its infancy. We can expect that as device prices continue to drop, iOT will give rise to many new business opportunities.

There are so many opportunities in virtual care. The question is where to start. How can you help healthcare systems capitalize on the benefits of virtual care at scale? How can you help them lower costs through virtual care? What costly services can be replaced by virtual services? How can you help healthcare systems shift more physicians and their patients to virtual visits? How can you support the infrastructure needs?

In the Strategic Planning Template, we help you work through these questions and develop a growth strategy based on virtual care that’s right for you.

#3 Strategic Theme  – Help healthcare systems improve the way they train and share knowledge

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you help healthcare systems shorten the time to get staff up to competence?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Training

The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for training in every area of operations from teaching clinicians new skills with ventilators to training IT staff on how to work remotely.

Like every other business, healthcare is having some workers work from home. This has been especially challenging in healthcare, as the work routines of many workers don’t lend themselves easily to remote work. They are having to learn new skills and fast.

Virtual education or e-learning is becoming essential

There is a critical need to provide training remotely and not just for the remote workforces. This includes new clinical procedures for clinicians and caregivers.

They need to learn quickly and in-person training takes longer to organize and deliver.  E-learning for new IT skills seems a natural progression.

We believe that e-learning will become more important than elbow-to-elbow after the crisis.

How can you help healthcare systems learn new skills faster?

Do you have expertise that can be trained more effectively online? Can you create virtual master classes to “skill-up” healthcare workers

The collective knowledge of the health system network is a powerful asset

How can you help them leverage and share knowledge systemwide?

Last but not least, patient education about COVID-19 online has been a very important factor in the crisis. What have we learned from this that can help improve the way we engage, inform and educate patients going forward?

The Strategic Options sheet will help you develop your list of growth strategies around training and the Strategy Template will help you turn that into a plan of action.

#4 Growth Strategic Theme – Protect healthcare systems from cybersecurity attacks

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you set yourself apart in the crowded cybersecurity market?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Cybersurity

During the COVID-19 crisis, cybersecurity has become an even bigger challenge. phishing and ransomware threats have exploded, as bad actors exploit the pandemic.

The constant rate of change means that everyone is looking for information related to COVID-19.

It is too easy to click on links or download what looks like the latest guidance from the CDC or WHO.

Bad actors are posing as reliable sources and sending phishing emails posing as legitimate authorities. Many users are being caught in their traps.

Cybersecurity is a priority issue for the IT team AND for CEOs

Coming out of the crisis, healthcare systems will have to step up their efforts to protect against cybersecurity attacks.

For cybersecurity vendors, the challenge is how to set yourself apart

There are hundreds of cybersecurity vendors from consultants, to point solutions that harden the security on devices, firms that will audit and certify your security standards, penetration testing firms, and many more categories of vendors.

For IT buyers and hospital executives, the choices are overwhelming.

If you are selling cybersecurity solutions, what can you do to stand out? How can you offer something that will get you to the front of the line?

What vulnerabilities are the greatest concern and how can you position yourself as a leading solution? How can you get both the CEO and CISO’s attention? 

#5 Strategic Theme  – Make healthcare system operations more efficient

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you help healthcare systems run leaner and adapt faster to change?

Efficiency

In the words of one healthcare CIO:

“In the crisis, the head of purchasing has been king!”

The COVID-019 crisis has shown how resourceful the purchasing department can be.
I have heard many stories about how purchasing managers are finding N95 masks locally and getting iPads into the hands of nurses in half the time it used to take.

The purchasing teams and their colleagues in IT are the unsung heroes of this crisis.

The shortages of PPE and medication have forced buyers to look for alternate vendors. The purchasing departments don’t have the time to properly evaluate the vendors.

In times of crisis like these, they may be buying from suppliers who may be bad actors. How can they determine who can be trusted faster?

The crisis is showing up major weaknesses in the supply chain

As one healthcare executive relayed to me

“I think one thing that the crisis has highlighted is that we need a better understanding of the supply chain and the opportunities to be more responsive when needs arise.”

This lack of flexibility also applies to staffing. The COVID-19 crisis has meant that healthcare system managers have had to make drastic staffing changes on the fly, redeploying some staff to handle COVID-19 patients and having other staff jumps into new roles. Sadly, it has also meant furloughing or laying off some staff.

As we reviewed in #3, quickly accessible, virtual training has been important. We also believe that one of the outcomes of the crisis will be a new look at the value of outsourcing.

Are there capabilities that healthcare systems can outsource to lower-cost or specialist firms that can handle these crises more nimbly and with less of a financial impact on the system?

What can you do to help make healthcare systems drastically more efficient? How do you get out ahead of today’s need to what will be the next shortage? What can a vendor do to help speed up research on their trustworthiness?

#6 Strategic Theme – Help healthcare systems capitalize on their data

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you help healthcare systems get more value out of their data faster and more efficiently?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Data

The COVID-19 crisis has shone an even brighter light on the problems caused by poor interoperability.  For example, in the early days of the crisis, government officials had to exchange spreadsheets and track utilization and capacity at hospitals manually. As the data were not connected, officials were hampered in their ability to track the pandemic as it evolved rapidly.

Despite the billions of dollars invested in Electronic Medical records, we have hundreds of unconnected “dark pools” of data. We hope that coming out of this crisis, there will be newfound urgency and pressure to enable greater interoperability. It has to be imperative.

This could create huge opportunities as there is an accelerated shift to move more and more data and systems to the cloud.

Moreover, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven itself during the crisis. Most notably in the use of chatbots. We are scratching the surface of what can be done with AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).  Any initiatives to exploit these technologies will be held back by a lack of large pooled data sets.

What can you do to help accelerate the change? What new services can you offer that will help healthcare systems put their data to work more effectively?

#7 Strategic Theme  – Improve healthcare system resiliency

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Question: How can you help healthcare systems prepare to weather the next crisis?

Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy Resilience

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed weaknesses and a few surprise strengths of today’s healthcare systems. There are so many areas where healthcare systems are going to need to improve their capabilities so that they can weather the next storm.

Here are a few examples of areas where healthcare systems will need to improve their resilience.

  • Physician burnout was a major problem going into this crisis. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on physician morale will be deep and far-ranging.
  • Larger systems have been able to make certain facilities COVID-19 facilities and allow other hospitals and outpatient facilities to serve non-COIVD-19 patients.
  • How can you help improve infection control?
  • Moving to the cloud has improved the resiliency of many businesses. How can healthcare accelerate this transition?
  • Knowing how can healthcare systems leverage the collective knowledge of the network more effectively
  • How can you help grow the leadership skills of senior staff?
  • How to use genetic testing to improve care. In our most recent podcast, Joe Scott, a longtime hospital CEO, and former transformation executive of RWJ-Barnabas Health, discusses this topic and the potential opportunities presented by genetic testing.

There are many more strategies within this area. The strategic options sheet will help you develop your list of growth strategies around resiliency and the strategy template will help you turn that into a plan of action.

Action Steps to Build your Post-COVID-19 Growth Strategy

Step 1 – Pick your strategic themes

After reviewing the seven themes, pick which ones you can make a difference in.

Step 2 – Score yourself against the Strategic Options

Once you have picked your strategic theme, download the Strategic Options sheet. Once you have your top 3-5 strategies, it’s time to develop a game plan

Step 3 – Develop your strategic action plan

Now you have a priority list of strategies to pursue, it’s time to turn this into a plan. Take your top three strategies and try out the Strategic Planning Template.

We really want your feedback on this. Please let us know what we can do to make it better. And if you have questions or need help, please reach out. We are here to help

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Photos by Alexander Schimmeck  You X Ventures  Glenn Carstens-Peters  Taskin Ashiq camilo jimenez  Markus Spiske  National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Adam Turinas

Hi, I am Adam Turinas, Healthlaunchpad's founder. I am passionate about helping healthtech firms succeed through better sales and marketing. I have hard-earned experience in healthcare technolgy as I started two healthcare businesses in the US, the first with zero healthcare experience. We sold the second business to a strategic buyer seven years later. Over 9 years building a healhtech businesses, I have learned how to sell and market effectively to healthcare organizations. Prior to this, I spent two decades in digital marketing across healthcare and other consumer industries where I sold over $100 million in products and services to corporations and healthcare orgs. I would love to talk with you. You can book a call with me on the right hand side. Best Adam

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