As the healthcare industry continues to expand and adopt new technologies, the challenge providers face is to juggle the administrative, business side of things while prioritizing their patients. Enter: industry experts. Consultants that make up healthcare consulting firms are experts in their fields who work to make the healthcare industry a healthier place. A healthy practice runs on business savvy, marketing strategies, technology expertise, effective HR management and legal compliance.
A Thriving Market
In 2022, the global healthcare consulting market value was estimated at USD 22.4 billion. The surge in the demand for expert healthcare services has driven competition and pushed healthcare consulting firms to constantly stay at the top of their game. As industry experts, Peregrine Healthcare helps both well-established and up-and-coming healthcare providers streamline their operations across the board. But on top of that, we collaborate with expert networks to foster an environment of constant innovation. As an active member of this ecosystem, in this article we are sharing some of the expertise that has led us where we are today.
In this must-read for healthcare professionals, we have put together a comprehensive list of the 10 aspects that providers and consultants alike must consider in order to run a successful and healthy practice.
10 Keys to Achieve Healthcare Consulting Success
Table of contents
1) Know Thyself
When coming up with your business plan, integral to carrying out successful operations, it is imperative that you have a clear understanding of what makes your business different. It may take a while, but it is worth digging into your vision, mission, and strategic objectives. Why are you doing what you are doing? Who are you going to help? How are you going to do it? What will be your driving values? As you answer these questions, your identity will emerge and you will be able to create a business around it. Also, in the process you will analyze your potential competitors and as you do, you’ll see how your own offerings can stand out in comparison.
2) Create a Clear Business Plan
Once you know what you bring to the table, the path is clearer to becoming the consultant that you want to be. As an expert in your field, you are probably familiar with what business plans entail. However, markets are ever evolving and constantly changing, so it would help to refresh your knowledge with updated material. Forbes and the Harvard Business Review have reliable guides to set organizations on the right path. Additionally, the US’s Small Business Association offers insight into building a business plan.
3) Put Together a Winning Team
Healthcare consulting businesses are overarching in that their offerings cover every aspect of the industry. In order to provide a service that is at the highest level, you are going to surround yourself with experienced professionals with varied backgrounds who can provide different insights. Also, by now you probably have a list of world-class suppliers who will help take your business to new heights. Knowing how to manage and harness vendors is key to a healthy and successful business.
4) Create a Healthcare Consulting Proposal
This is the fun part! Your proposal is your calling card. This is how you present your business to others. You will include:
- An overview of the market and the challenges of the healthcare industry—this is the Why.
- An explanation of what you can do about the situation and help your client—this the How.
- The outcomes that your approach will produce—this is the Why Me.
Your healthcare consulting proposal is one of the first written documents you will present to your prospective client, so it must look utterly professional. This means that while the content you bring must be of excellent quality, so should be the accompanying elements. In other words, you might want to think about hiring editorial professionals. For example, a graphic designer who understands how to visually organize the information you want to convey and a writer who can help you express your ideas in a clear and professional manner. While it can be costly, it will come back manifold.
5) Set Up Robust Legal Agreements
With first-class lawyers and healthcare experts in your team, you will find no major issues when drawing up your agreements. These will give both your practice and your client a framework within which to operate in a clear way. Namely, the following core agreements will make up the backbone of your exercise:
- A services agreement
- A non-disclosure agreement
- A non-compete agreement
Once you have drafted them, you might want to have an analogue third party like Peregrine Healthcare revise them so as to have a pair of fresh eyes on them and make sure they are complete and clear.
6) Analyze This
Be a great analyst. Seems a simple enough statement, but there is a lot behind it. Admittedly, consulting is built on the base of effective analysis. To be ahead of the pack, your practice will prioritize continuous professional development and adopt the most innovative data analysis tools. Making informed recommendations is key in consulting and interpreting data effectively cannot be underestimated.
7) Adopt First-Rate Frameworks and Tools
In line with the statements expressed above, this is the foundation of a good—and innovative—analyst. Business frameworks are a structured approach to analyzing and understanding different aspects like strategy, operations, financial management or marketing, applied to businesses. And, make no mistake, a healthcare organization, large or small, is a business. For healthcare providers, though, it can be easy to get lost in the corporate side of things. Medical school is undeniably no place to pick up business skills and when time comes to set up a medical practice, a lot of administrative responsibilities are left on the backburner. As a result, skilled healthcare providers fail to generate revenue or expand their reach to help more people. That is where healthcare consulting firms come in, armed with their top/of/the/line frameworks to help physicians and organizations make the right decisions.
The Business Strategy Hub has compiled a list of business strategy frameworks that you might want to take a look at. Likewise, the American Society for Quality offers a comprehensive and updated catalog of data analysis tools, charts, and diagrams that organizations should adopt to follow the industry’s best practices.
8) Hone Your Team’s Communication Skills
Let’s be clear: when talking about effective communication in healthcare consulting, we mean both with the clients and with your team. As we become better communicators, we will:
- Reduce confusions, therefore we will save (very valuable) time.
- Define expectations, therefore Improve productivity as everyone knows what their role is.
- Broaden our horizons, making everybody feel welcome and safe to collaborate, without fear of being judged.
- Build up our reputation.
It is important to remember that communication goes beyond the spoken language. There are a slew of tools available to us to incorporate into our communication toolkit.
Additionally, and particularly important, remember to use inclusive communication. The CDC’s Health Equity Guiding Principles for Inclusive Communication is a great tool that any organization can access to learn and incorporate into their practices. You can also access Include.org for more information.
9) Build Your Reputation
“Your reputation precedes you” has to be one of the sweetest four-word sentences one can hear. If you are doing great work and nobody is talking about it, are you really doing great work? Apart from your healthcare consulting clients spreading the word, you should make the conscious effort to manage your reputation online. Whether in-house or via a third party, keep the following strategies in mind:
- Consider investing in paid media.
- Design strategies to produce earned media.
- Build a social media presence. Once you have, remember to engage with your followers and address any potential concern the same way you would with a client.
- Develop a top-notch website.
- You clients are happy, why not ask for a review? About 90% of customers read reviews before engaging a business, so harnessing the power of Google Reviews or testimonials on your site is essential.
10) Audit Yourself
You may have heard the expression “the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot”… Don’t be that shoemaker. As a healthcare consulting firm, if you are doing it for others to streamline their processes… do it at home, too. Constantly audit your business and improve. We are always a work in progress, the word ‘progress’ here being the absolute key.
A Word to the Healthcare Consulting Wise
A career in healthcare consulting is hard work, but immensely rewarding. Helping healthcare professionals focus on their practice by removing administrative obstacles and helping them optimize their processes is an inestimable contribution to a healthy system. The ultimate beneficiary is the patient, who will receive the best care possible. In the process, as healthcare consultants, we will also help professionals live a better life knowing that their business is in good hands. If you are looking for optimal healthcare business solutions, Peregrine Healthcare is here for you.