Patient Outmigration: Keys to Explore

DataBay Resources--help with patient outmigration

By Steven Dunn, Sales Director, DataBay Resources

While healthcare continues its shift from volume-based care to a value-based model, hospital executives still need to focus on patient retention. If a patient lives in the hospital’s primary service area, but leaves to receive treatment elsewhere – that’s a problem. As hospitals seek to more tightly integrate providers and maintain joint financial incentives to deliver high quality care at a lower cost, reviewing patient outmigration can expose potential breaks in your system and help you directly address these issues.

When reviewing your hospital’s patient outmigration, there are three key things to examine:

  1. Geography – Start by identifying your hospital’s primary and secondary service area. The primary area is usually mapped to show where 75 percent of the volume has come from, and pinpoints the origin of the majority of patients. A second service area should then be overlaid to show up to 90 percent of the procedures performed at the hospital. This addresses the question of where most of your patients are coming from. Also, it’s important to note that service areas can and will change each time new data is released, so reviewing service areas on a regular basis is also a good idea.
  2. Service Lines – You will need to identify the number of patients who are leaving to have a procedure done at another facility who live within your hospital’s service area. This will show the actual lost market share for all treatment events. The ability to connect this information to the actual procedure group, such as Orthopedics or Cardiac Services, will show lost volume by the specific service line.
  3. Revenue Loss – Finally, you need the ability to see the financial impact of patients leaving the hospital’s service area. Every outmigration event has a direct impact to the bottom line, since any procedure performed at a competitor’s facility will represent a lost revenue opportunity. Being able to capture that information in a financial report, tying together the loss of contribution margin, by procedure, will be key for hospitals conducting a thorough outmigration analysis.

Find a data partner that can provide you additional information, like age and gender of patients, referring physician and type of payer. Having this level of detail will add considerable value to an outmigration analysis. It begins to paint a clearer picture of your patient retention performance and will answer key questions such as:

  • What volume of my patients are leaving by a geographic area and by service line?
  • What is the demographic make-up of these patients?
  • What hospitals are patients going to in order to receive services or procedure treatments?
  • Who is the surgeon or referring physician?
  • What is the revenue loss?

Answers to these questions can help you build a marketing plan to specifically target populations or specific categories that can help grow or retain market share. Geographic expansion by leading providers is rapidly increasing and maintaining market share will be difficult for providers. Hospitals need to continually review and analyze their outmigration data to help drive their strategic planning efforts.

Intalere subsidiary DataBay Resources provides strategic planning and market analysis software for interpreting and reporting on state and Medicare discharge data, disease-based predictive analytics to include consumer demographics and lifestyle segmentation, and physician manpower planning and database management.

Contact 877-711-5700 ext. 7213, or visit the DataBay Resources website to learn more.


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