This is the final installment of four posts on healthcare service line strategy and structure.
With Service Lines, Imitation is Not the Answer
The classic flaw of imitation is the assumption that someone else is doing it right.
For the service line management model to be an effective growth engine, providers must move beyond benchmarking and replication to forge a distinctive position in the market. The secret to competitive effectiveness is not to be better than the competition. But to be different in a way that is distinct, relevant and truly meaningful to your customer base — by seeking different value-producing approaches to the market, by driving innovations in service delivery, by creating unique approaches to integration and service consolidation, by cultivating unique partnerships, by understanding how different degrees of centralization, delegation of authority, and functional specialization work together to achieve differentiation.
The key consideration for health care leaders is how those differences add value to the service line model in achieving the company’s strategic vision and goals.
So, the critical question for service line execs is how differentiated value is defined, created and delivered. This requires more than an aggregation of tactics, but a leadership-driven approach to identifying opportunities, crafting strategies to create a distinct and compelling value proposition, developing a effective business model and operating structure, forging physician partnerships, and prioritizing investments.
What’s important to keep in mind is that service line management, in and of itself, is not the goal. When aligned to an organization’s strategy and configured to achieve results, it can, however, be a powerful model for creating and sustaining competitive advantage.