Our hospital group is a leading multilingual hospital system serving the Brussels region and its surrounding areas. We offer comprehensive care at our 3 main sites with 709 beds. Calling on the expertise of over 300 specialist physicians and 1,800 staff members, we pride ourselves on providing highly personalised care to 2,500 patients every day. From accurate diagnostic to the most advanced forms of treatment and recovery, we combine state-of-the-art medical technology with contemporary infrastructure to deliver high-quality dedicated care with highest safety and comfort standards, for each and every patient, every day.
I’m now in charge of Strategy, Innovation and Transformation for all sites. The Board asked me to develop our growth strategy for 5 coming years.
The Belgian healthcare sector is currently undergoing major changes and many parameters are fixed, limiting possible actions to develop and stimulate our hospital growth. Some elements of this particular context in which I need to operate:
- The law on hospitals forces us to remain in the non profit. It is out of the question to include shareholding in our Financial model;
- The funds allocated to hospitals come mainly from a specific closed envelope for federal government health care, central collection of physician fees, and pharmacy;
- We have no control over prices (prices are set) and we limit the suppléments on medical fees to maximum 200%;
- Competition is fierce and it is therefore difficult to find doctors and staff (job shopping). Taking more for medical fees is not an option;
- Impact on volume is limited to the national growth per pathology;
- Our hospital is merging between its different sites and the doctors are now forming real associations by specialty forcing us to reorganize ourselves at the operational level (process flow, some pathologies will only be treated on one site only, we need to cluster activities, a lot of big change management to go through, …);
- Implementation of fixed prices fees for some pathologies (childbirth, hip replacement, etc.) with high impact on medical fees;
- We are experiencing a severe shortage of nurses directly impacting the quality of care ;
- A new law has just been signed forcing Belgian hospitals to group themselves into hospital networks (a maximum of 3 networks in Brussels, and university hospitals must be part of a network). We are currently negotiating to define the pathology portfolio among the various hospitals in the network according to different networking scenarios;
- All hospitals in Brussels are “general hospitals” and are treating same kind of pathologies (even the universitary hospitals in order to maintain Financial balance !)
During the last 3 years we have worked hard to define a new strategic plan four our group and to define annual action plans to reduce costs, to stimulate activity, to launch standardization projects, to launch quality improvement projects,… But we have to admit that we are still ending at the same level…. Our result has been balanced in recent years, but it is difficult to generate more margin and we cannot invest in new projects.
I really need an ‘out of the box’ strategic reflection to imagine new parameters or reinvent the classic hospital model in our country.
Any thoughts or ideas on how to develop a real growth strategy? Which kind of drivers would you act on?