For the last couple of years I have been working on concierge medicine, medical spas, hospitality in the medical industry, new technologies and wellness.
At times the ideas seemed far apart until I started working on the concepts, operations and marketing and then I realized the incredible opportunity that these ideas represent.
Let’s start with some background basics:
1. Health Care reform. Since 1995 I have seen overheads climb from 20% to 40% of gross to 80% and 100%.
2. Health insurance costs have skyrocketed to the point that is not uncommon to see deductibles of 10,000 per year, co-pays of 30 and monthly fees of 600 per individual.
3. The number of the uninsured population continues to rise.
4. Healthcare professionals who do procedures have a higher income than those who do not.
Based on the challenges that the about basics present the response in many cases has been to increase production by adding more patients per hour and non-physician practitioners (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to see even more patients. So if you consider the situation from the customer point of view it looks like: “I’m paying more for fewer services”.
One of the answers that we at Taino Consultants Inc. have been looking in response to this trend is to add more of the hospitality characteristics into the healthcare business. We actually go as far as to consider that our physician visits may be considered the “loss leader” of our operations with profits been generated from all the ancillary services been offered.
For example, based on an article in Los Angeles Times1, the average cost for hospital charges in the USA is 3,994 per day. Keep in mind that this cost doesn’t include professional services. The same article puts the average stay at 15,734.
So if I’m a savvy business owner I could look into this as follows:
1. Rent a room at Hardrock Hotel in Orlando: 240-340/night
2. Hire a registered nurse: 31.75 per hour2 , 762 per day
3. Three meals per day: 100 (20 breakfast, 20 lunch, 40 dinner, 20 tips)
Total per day: 1,062 per day
This means that I have personal one on one services, with top rated food and in a place that my family and I can enjoy for just about 25% of the costs of a stay at the hospital? Of course I’m oversimplifying but considering the present environment why shouldn’t I, as a business owner, step out of the box and look out for myself.
From the standpoint of the healthcare professional this simple comparison should open our eyes of how can we partner and take advantage of this situation. Granted, I wouldn’t put a patient that requires ICU care in a hotel but there are a number of services that we could potentially offer in a more attractive environment. Or as my son Emanuel Delgado once told me, it is all about the experience and not the stay.
Hence the challenge should be more into selecting the right mix of services rather than in moving forward. For example:
• Part of the services of our liposuction package includes a two day hotel stay with medical supervision.
• Weight loss camp at our facility with visits to the parks included as part of the program.
• Non-narcotic pain relief services at the end of the day.
• Chemotherapy package. Receive treatment in your own suite. Bring your family along.
• Dialysis vacation for the family.
So what is the problem if I lose money in the medical visit if my overall profit is increased? As a matter of fact, chances are that based on the scenario presented, the probabilities are higher that the loss leader will become a profitable income generating activity as well as all the other services and products offered.
At the end of the day I go back to my first paragraph and realize the opportunities becoming available are only limited by the understanding of the customers’ needs and the imagination of those in charge.
Dr. Jose I. Delgado is the President and CEO of Taino Consultants Inc., consulting firm that focuses on healthcare business start-ups and operations. In this capacity, Dr. Delgado consults to a variety of clients for the inclusion of concierge, new ventures, spa programs and wellness. Taino Consultants Inc. operations and services also include gap, compliance, market and financial analysis. Dr. Delgado holds a PhD in Healthcare business, a Masters in Business and a Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics and he can be contacted at [email protected]
1. Worldwide price survey puts U.S. medical, hospital costs at top, March 06, 2012 by Patrick McMahon
2. United States Department of Labor. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011, 29-1111 Registered Nurses