By Randena Hulstrand, Vizient
Because hospital service lines are focused on a type of patient or disease group — with considerations for the location of service, diagnosis-related groups and financial coding terminology — their optimization is imperative to healthcare organizations' growth strategy, care delivery excellence and expense management.
With that in mind and to give providers a leg up in today's competitive healthcare landscape, Vizient launched two specific service line networks last year — cancer and cardiovascular. The Service Line Strategic Networks are open to all Vizient members who have access to the Vizient Clinical Data Base, Sg2 Market Edge and Member Networks. These networks address service line executives' strategic, market growth and service line optimization challenges through clinical quality and health equity data, market growth intelligence, and peer collaboration to develop and implement actionable performance improvement activities.
To better understand the service line structures of member organizations, Vizient launched a survey this year distributed to service line executives, chief operating officers, chief strategy officers and chief financial officers. There were 139 respondents to the survey who were nearly evenly split between academic medical centers (53%) and community hospital or non-academic health systems (46%).
"The purpose of this survey was to gain insight and identify specific areas for future, deeper exploration and determine how Vizient can best support our members' service line optimization efforts," said Janet Schuerman, associate vice president, Performance Improvement.
Of the survey respondents, 94% reported that their organizations have established service lines. Results from the survey also included member insights about what kinds of service lines they have, the primary responsibilities and leadership structures of their service lines, along with their primary indicators of the service line successes. Key findings include:
- The most common service lines are cardiovascular (91%), cancer (91%), orthopedics (77%) and neurosciences (75%).
- 53% of the respondents' service line scope spans their entire health system, including the flagship hospital, community hospitals and ambulatory sites.
- Top service line responsibilities included clinical quality improvement (85%), strategic planning (79%) and profit and loss management (72%).
- 63% have a dyad leadership model.
- 56% report to system level operational leaders such as a COO or CAO.
- 46% see their service lines' primary indicator of success as growing market share and relevance.
"One of the biggest takeaways for me was that the majority of the members indicated that while their primary service line responsibilities are clinical quality and strategic planning, their indicators of success were growing market share and relevance," said Chad Giese, principal, Intelligence. "It's reinforcement that Vizient is on the right track to helping set our service line network members up for success and help them differentiate themselves in their markets through our novel use of comprehensive analytics and strategic growth intelligence offerings."
During the Service Line Strategic Network meeting in May, participants discussed the survey results and identified key takeaways and action steps for providers:
- Create a service line structure that is meaningful to your organization.
- Define governance and framework.
- Designate what services are best delivered through a service line structure.
- Define service line leadership and governance structures.
- Include areas outside the core service line, including primary care, in your service line planning.
"Our Service Line Strategic Network members confirmed what we hoped to be true," Schuerman said. "That the results are aligned with and validate their current service line structure and our Service Line Strategic Networks' focus."