Remember the old children’s nursery rhyme, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick?” That may indeed be the formula necessary for helping non-profit health systems to remain viable in 2017 and beyond.
Unlike its for-profit counterparts, non-profit systems can ill afford trying experimental programs and technologies that have not been properly vetted. Non-profits have traditionally relied on their role to provide needed healthcare to those who cannot afford it or to cover a gap (or niche) in care within a geographical or demographical domain. In 2017, these providers would do well to assess how they can deliver more services using smaller footprints and with more locations to take care of primary needs.
Nonprofits will need to have the capability of moving in and out of present delivery situations as such needs present themselves. As workforces shift and population bases migrate, these healthcare systems will require the ability to adapt quicker than their for-profit counterparts from location to location and from service to service.
Don’t Get Torched
Healthcare delivery is going through another transitional time with an about face in governmental structure. Nonprofit health systems cannot afford to parlay huge expenditures for prototypical products and services with the hope that such investments will produce the needed dividends for further growth. Grant and endowment funding may end up being torched if the guess is wrong.
The real “profitable” investments will be found more in service proliferation than in experimental technologies. Exceptions to this train of thought would include St. Judes Hospital and Mayo Clinic. Smaller organizations with less root structure will endure with leaner business models that provide more bang for their buck.