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Leadership Insights: Power Up For 2024

Leadership Insights: Power Up For 2024

Game-Changing Growth Strategies for Health Systems

How can healthcare leaders help their teams avoid being reactive as they combat financial pressures, emerging competitive disruptors, and shifting consumer and physician expectations?

The key is to map a strategic near-term service line growth strategy or playbook. By engaging stakeholders like never before you can more quickly understand and implement creative solutions, like side-door access opportunities, faster and better consumer engagement technologies, better front-line input and highly effective outreach.

These game-changing strategies leverage the power of “now” to rapidly and strategically grow key service lines. They work together to rapidly remove access barriers and spark near-term growth, typically generating $26 million of incremental net revenue in the first year.

Unmask the Illusion of Capacity Issues

There is no doubt that healthcare labor costs and capacity concerns are real. But in reality, access or process issues may create the illusion that health systems lack capacity - when what they are truly experiencing is an access issue. Most organizations are positioned to grow based on their current capabilities and footprint but lack the internal resources and tools to make it happen quickly.

Darcy Craven, CEO of Archbold Medical Center, underscored the value of a rapid impact growth solution to unlock latent capacity. His health system’s recent success in driving $34 million in incremental net revenue, partnering with Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies, started with a strategic growth readiness assessment to determine our readiness for the kind of growth they want and need. Discovering that access bottlenecks - not a lack of capacity - were the culprits that caused the imaging business to leak out of the system, they then developed a short-term strategy to recapture that business by:

  • Creating seamless access – and unlocking latent capacity – in imaging services
  • Eliminating internal operational silos
  • Deploying a ‘boots on the ground’ physician liaison outreach sales team to promote the imaging services

Deploy Physician Liaisons as the Ears and Voice of the CEO

Too often, leaders and leadership teams underestimate the competitive power a professionally trained and managed physician liaison team brings to an organization. Deploying physician liaisons to effectively achieve physician alignment, healthcare organizations can proactively drive smart growth and immediate return on investment.

Key to the success of the best-in-class outreach program developed for Archbold, is training and positioning physician liaisons to report directly to the C-suite. Darcy and key leaders meet with the physician liaisons on a weekly basis to learn about issues and opportunities for growth and physician engagement.

They discuss wins and barriers experienced by both employed and non-employed physicians based in the hospital and throughout the community. Archbold liaisons take specialty doctors on ride-alongs to meet with referring physicians - and strategic service line volume quickly increases over the following weeks.

“I get an incredible amount of positive feedback from physicians about how our physician liaison team helps their practices grow, especially our specialists,” Darcy said.

Unfortunately, most healthcare systems have ‘homegrown’ programs that Darcy says he knows first-hand, do not work as effectively. He said, “Sometimes leaders are told what people think they want to hear.” That’s why having a liaison report to the C-level leaders is so crucial - and the only way to hear the real issues.”

Brittany Lawson, Vice President of Operations at HCA-Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, echoed Darcy’s comments on the importance of the physician liaison role. As a former physician liaison, she knows first-hand how a great liaison will advocate for your health system by getting ahead of potential issues. They bridge the gap by sharing real-time feedback from physicians and staff.

The liaisons at her healthcare system have a direct line to their administration team as well, including the C-suite and key service line directors. If there are problems, physician liaisons serve as the team catalysts to solve them together.

The physician liaison program builds trust and delivers long-term impact. "Tiller-Hewitt’s 22 years of hiring and training thousands of successful liaisons, proves that physician liaisons who are effective in representing the voice of the CEO become well-versed and knowledgeable trusted advisors,” said Thomas Tiller II, Chief Operating Officer of Tiller-Hewitt Healthcare Strategies. “As they deliver value, they progress and easily climb the ladder to senior leadership roles.”

Remove Friction for Patients and Physicians

Hospitals and health systems that provide the path of least resistance win business by being easier to access - even when all else is equal. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance for the patient is not always the path of least resistance for the providers.

That is why, according to Brittany, “it is important that we understand the perspectives of our customers - our patients and providers.” Loyalty must be earned. At the end of the day, it is about having an efficient process.”

By getting ahead of issues, knowing the value of the physician liaison, and delivering a friction-free experience for patients and providers, healthcare systems can improve access and achieve early wins that fund continued investment in sustainable, long-term strategic growth.

“Margin pressure, staffing costs and competitive disruptors will continue to challenge healthcare organizations,” according to Thomas Tiller II, Chief Operating Officer of Tiller-Hewitt Healthcare Strategies. “But there’s good news, too. These proven solutions that rapidly deliver strategic, near-term revenue and produce a year-one return on investment can fund sustainable growth far into the future.”


Tiller-Hewitt’s leadership resources feature senior leaders who bring strategic growth solutions and case studies to life. They focus on practical ways to prioritize and execute initiatives proven to drive rapid impact strategic growth.