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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Telehealth Expansion Strategy for Healthcare Providers in North America

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Workplace Productivity to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: A prominent healthcare organization specializing in telehealth services is facing challenges with workplace productivity amid a rapidly evolving digital health landscape.

The organization has experienced a 20% decline in patient engagement rates over the last quarter, coupled with a 15% increase in operational costs due to inefficiencies in service delivery and administrative processes. External pressures include heightened competition from burgeoning telehealth startups and changing healthcare regulations that impact service reimbursement and patient privacy. The primary strategic objective of this organization is to enhance workplace productivity and operational efficiency to improve patient engagement and reduce costs.

This healthcare organization, a leader in telehealth services, is at a critical juncture. The decline in patient engagement and rising operational costs suggest underlying issues in workplace productivity and service delivery efficiency. Amidst a digital health transformation, the organization must recalibrate its strategy to stay competitive and meet evolving patient expectations.

External Analysis

Telehealth is experiencing unprecedented growth, driven by technological advancements and changing patient preferences. However, this growth brings new challenges and competitors to the forefront.

Examining the competitive landscape reveals:

  • Internal Rivalry: High, as established healthcare providers and new entrants vie for market share in a rapidly expanding telehealth sector.
  • Supplier Power: Moderate, with a relatively small number of technology platform providers catering to a growing number of healthcare organizations.
  • Buyer Power: High, given patients' increasing options for telehealth services and their growing expectation for convenience and quality.
  • Threat of New Entrants: High, due to low barriers to entry for digital-first startups offering niche telehealth services.
  • Threat of Substitutes: Moderate, with in-person healthcare services still being preferred by some patient demographics.

Emerging trends include the integration of artificial intelligence for diagnostics and patient management, and a shift towards value-based care models. These trends signal:

  • Increased demand for personalized telehealth experiences, creating opportunities for differentiation but also the risk of lagging behind in technology adoption.
  • Regulatory changes favoring telehealth reimbursement, offering financial opportunities but requiring agility to navigate complex healthcare laws.
  • Technological advancements that can enhance service delivery, presenting an opportunity to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes, but also requiring significant investment in digital infrastructure.

A STEER analysis highlights significant technological, economic, and regulatory factors shaping the telehealth industry. Technological advancements offer both opportunities and challenges in delivering cost-effective, high-quality care. Economic uncertainties and healthcare policies also impact organizational strategies and patient behaviors.

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Environmental and Internal Assessment

The organization operates in a dynamic environment, with strong capabilities in delivering telehealth services but facing challenges in operational efficiency and technological innovation.

A MOST Analysis reveals the organization's mission aligns with the growing demand for telehealth, but operational strategies need refinement to improve productivity and service quality. Strengths include a strong patient base and brand reputation, while weaknesses are seen in adapting to technological changes and managing operational costs.

A Gap Analysis identifies discrepancies between current operational capabilities and the desired state of efficiency and innovation required to lead in the telehealth market. Addressing these gaps is crucial for enhancing workplace productivity and patient engagement.

A Distinctive Capabilities Analysis suggests the need for improvement in digital innovation, patient-centric service design, and operational agility to maintain a competitive edge.

Learn more about Service Design Distinctive Capabilities Workplace Productivity

Strategic Initiatives

Based on the insights from the external and internal analyses, the following strategic initiatives are defined to be pursued over the next 12-18 months :

  • Digital Infrastructure Overhaul: This initiative aims to modernize the technological platform to enhance service delivery and operational efficiency. The expected value includes improved patient engagement and reduced service delivery costs. Required resources involve investments in technology and training for staff.
  • Workplace Productivity Enhancement: Focus on optimizing administrative processes and leveraging technology to free up medical staff to spend more time on patient care. This initiative is expected to lower operational costs and improve patient satisfaction. Resources required include process reengineering expertise and technology solutions for workflow management.
  • Patient Engagement Strategy Redefinition: Redesigning the patient journey to offer more personalized and accessible telehealth experiences. The value creation comes from increased patient loyalty and engagement, translating into higher service utilization rates. This will require investments in customer relationship management systems and patient experience design.

Learn more about Value Creation Customer Relationship Management

Workplace Productivity Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
     – John E. Jones

  • Patient Engagement Rate: Measures the effectiveness of the new patient engagement strategies.
  • Operational Cost Reduction: Tracks the financial impact of workplace productivity initiatives.
  • Employee Satisfaction Score: Assesses the impact of new processes and technologies on staff morale and productivity.

These KPIs offer insights into the strategic initiatives' effectiveness, guiding continuous improvement and ensuring alignment with the organization's overarching goals.

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Workplace Productivity Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Workplace Productivity. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Workplace Productivity subject matter experts.

Workplace Productivity Deliverables

These are a selection of deliverables across all the strategic initiatives.

  • Technology Upgrade Roadmap (PPT)
  • Operational Efficiency Framework (PPT)
  • Patient Engagement Strategy Plan (PPT)
  • Workplace Productivity Improvement Toolkit (PPT)

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Digital Infrastructure Overhaul

The Value Chain Analysis was selected to guide the Digital Infrastructure Overhaul initiative. This framework, developed by Michael Porter, emphasizes understanding the series of activities that an organization performs to deliver a valuable product or service to the market. It proved invaluable for identifying and optimizing the telehealth service delivery process. The organization meticulously applied this framework to ensure that each segment of the value chain, from initial patient contact to post-consultation follow-up, was enhanced through digital technology. The process included:

  • Mapping out the existing value chain specifically for telehealth services, identifying key activities such as patient intake, consultation, follow-up, and support services.
  • Assessing each activity for digital enhancement opportunities, focusing on areas where technology could significantly improve efficiency and patient experience.
  • Implementing targeted digital solutions, such as automated patient intake forms and AI-driven diagnostic tools, to optimize these key activities.

Another framework that was instrumental is the Balanced Scorecard, which helped align the digital overhaul objectives with the organization's broader strategic goals. This approach ensured that technological enhancements contributed not only to operational efficiency but also to patient satisfaction, employee engagement, and financial performance. The implementation steps included:

  • Developing a Balanced Scorecard that linked digital infrastructure improvements to specific metrics in patient outcomes, operational efficiency, employee satisfaction, and financial performance.
  • Setting targets for each metric that reflected the desired impact of the digital overhaul.
  • Regularly reviewing progress against these targets to ensure the initiative remained aligned with the organization's strategic objectives.

The results of implementing these frameworks were transformative. The Value Chain Analysis ensured that digital enhancements were precisely targeted to improve service delivery and patient experience. Meanwhile, the Balanced Scorecard provided a comprehensive view of the initiative's impact, confirming improvements in patient engagement, operational efficiency, and financial performance.

Learn more about Balanced Scorecard Employee Engagement Value Chain Analysis

Workplace Productivity Enhancement

For the Workplace Productivity Enhancement initiative, the organization employed the Lean Six Sigma framework. Lean Six Sigma focuses on reducing waste and improving process efficiency, which was crucial for addressing the identified operational inefficiencies. The use of this framework was pivotal in streamlining administrative processes and enhancing the productivity of medical staff. The implementation process involved:

  • Conducting a comprehensive review of existing processes to identify non-value-adding activities that could be eliminated or automated.
  • Applying Six Sigma tools to analyze process variations and identify root causes of inefficiencies.
  • Implementing solutions, such as process automation and re-engineering, to eliminate waste and reduce variation, thereby improving consistency and quality of service.

The Resource-Based View (RBV) framework was also applied to ensure the organization leveraged its unique resources and capabilities to improve workplace productivity. This perspective helped in identifying internal strengths, such as proprietary technology and skilled staff, that could be optimized to enhance productivity. The steps taken included:

  • Identifying key resources and capabilities that provide a competitive advantage in telehealth service delivery.
  • Aligning these resources with the productivity enhancement initiative to ensure they were fully leveraged.
  • Developing training programs to enhance staff skills in using new technologies and processes, thereby maximizing the value of these resources.

The combination of Lean Six Sigma and the Resource-Based View frameworks led to significant improvements in operational efficiency and employee productivity. Processes were streamlined, reducing administrative burdens on medical staff and enabling them to dedicate more time to patient care. Furthermore, leveraging unique organizational resources enhanced the effectiveness of these improvements, contributing to a more productive and engaged workforce.

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Patient Engagement Strategy Redefinition

Utilizing the Customer Journey Mapping framework, the organization redefined its Patient Engagement Strategy to offer more personalized and accessible telehealth experiences. Customer Journey Mapping allowed for a deep understanding of the patient's experience, from initial awareness to post-treatment follow-up, highlighting areas for improvement. The organization followed these steps:

  • Mapping out the entire patient journey for telehealth services, identifying key touchpoints and moments of truth that influence patient satisfaction and engagement.
  • Gathering patient feedback at various stages of the journey to identify pain points and areas for enhancement.
  • Implementing changes based on this feedback, such as simplifying the appointment booking process and providing more personalized follow-up care.

The Service-Dominant Logic (SDL) framework was also applied, emphasizing the co-creation of value with patients and viewing telehealth services through the lens of service rather than a transaction. This shift in perspective was critical for developing a more patient-centric engagement strategy. Implementation involved:

  • Identifying opportunities for patients to actively participate in their healthcare, such as through shared decision-making and feedback mechanisms.
  • Enhancing communication channels to facilitate more effective patient-provider interactions.
  • Developing educational resources to empower patients, making them active participants in their healthcare journey.

The redefinition of the Patient Engagement Strategy through Customer Journey Mapping and Service-Dominant Logic frameworks led to a marked increase in patient engagement and satisfaction. By focusing on the entire patient journey and fostering a more collaborative relationship, the organization was able to create a more personalized and engaging telehealth experience.

Learn more about Customer Journey Customer Journey Mapping

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Modernized digital infrastructure resulted in a 25% increase in operational efficiency, enhancing service delivery.
  • Implementation of Lean Six Sigma reduced administrative process time by 30%, allowing medical staff more patient interaction time.
  • Patient engagement rates improved by 20% following the redefinition of the patient engagement strategy.
  • Operational costs decreased by 15% due to streamlined processes and better resource utilization.
  • Employee satisfaction scores rose by 10% as a result of reduced administrative burdens and enhanced workplace productivity tools.

The strategic initiatives undertaken by the healthcare organization have yielded significant improvements in operational efficiency, patient engagement, and cost reduction. The modernization of digital infrastructure and the application of frameworks such as the Value Chain Analysis and Balanced Scorecard have directly contributed to these outcomes, demonstrating the importance of aligning technological enhancements with strategic objectives. The use of Lean Six Sigma and the Resource-Based View framework successfully addressed operational inefficiencies, highlighting the effectiveness of combining process improvement methodologies with an emphasis on leveraging organizational strengths. However, while patient engagement rates improved, the increase was not as high as anticipated, suggesting that further enhancements in patient experience and engagement strategies may be needed. Additionally, the initial investment in digital infrastructure and training posed financial challenges, underscoring the need for careful financial planning in future initiatives.

Given the results, it is recommended that the organization continues to invest in technology that enhances patient experience and operational efficiency. Further research into patient needs and preferences should guide the development of more personalized engagement strategies. Additionally, exploring partnerships with technology providers could mitigate financial risks associated with digital infrastructure investments. Continuous training for staff on new technologies and processes will ensure that the organization maximizes the benefits of its strategic initiatives. Finally, a more detailed analysis of patient feedback and engagement metrics should be conducted to identify specific areas for improvement in the patient journey.

Source: Telehealth Expansion Strategy for Healthcare Providers in North America, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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