PwC: Meet the 4 hospitals of the future

Hospital cooridor
Hospitals will need to adapt their business models to survive the ever-changing healthcare system. (Getty/whyframestudio)

Hospitals are losing their place at the center of the healthcare system and will have to adapt to survive. Experts say they should look to four models to evolve. 

Researchers at PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the “provider of the future” will likely fit into one of four categories, based on the areas where it excels: product leader, experience leader, health manager or integrator. 

“What your ‘provider strategy of the future’ should be is something we’re having a lot of conversations about,” said Gurpreet Singh, PwC partner and U.S. health services leader. “Many of our clients are wondering what their role should be in this new world.” 

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Each of the four models will require hospitals and health systems to invest in different parts of their business and can be tailored to best suit their patient populations.

RELATED: Nearly 1 in 10 hospitals at risk for closure, Morgan Stanley says 

What are these areas? According to the report, they include: 

  1. Product leaders. According to PwC, these health systems will take the lead on providing the most advanced care and positive patient outcomes. These facilities will be investing in telemedicine, and care for complex conditions to new markets.
  2. Experience leaders. These providers will need to put a focus on analyzing the communities they seek to serve to achieve high customer satisfaction. Another piece to this, according to the report, is ensuring that the market has access to diverse care settings to improve the experience.
  3. Health managers. These providers will especially focus on population health and social determinants, according to the report. This will require a robust data infrastructure and direct contracts with employers to manage health.
  4. Integrators. These providers will devote much of their effort to expanding and building scale, according to the report. Having a large network—potentially even beyond U.S. borders—will create value for patients. 

While each model has its own competency areas, all providers need to bolster their ability to offer holistic, cost-effective care while balancing value-based payment models with traditional fee-for-service, according to the report. 

Choosing a model will lead a provider to choose a “major” and “minor” in that path, focus areas that it can use to drive growth and improvement, according to PwC. 

RELATED: Industry Voices—As hospitals evolve, so too must patient experience management 

Singh said that big-name academic medical centers and large health systems have already started this transformation and are aware of what the process will require. Smaller providers, though, may be so focused on the day-to-day struggles that they’re not as aware of or prepared for disruptions to the system, such as the entry of new players like Amazon

This is, in part, because smaller hospitals and systems operate in fewer risk-based models, he said. 

“Drop down to a number of other players ... operating in fee-for-service setting, and they’re not paying as much attention as they should be,” Singh said.