The Growth Imperative and Why Marketing Must Lead

April 4, 2022

// By Daniel Fell //

Growth is far from one-dimensional and shouldn’t be thought of in terms of new patients and new revenue only.

Growth is important for every organization. Whether it’s for-profits or not-for-profits, start-ups or established market leaders, every business depends on some level of growth to succeed in the near term. Growth is also essential to long-term sustainability, especially when navigating dynamic markets and overcoming unforeseen market disruptions.

Given how dynamic the health care industry has been over the past decade, and likely will be for the next, health systems are particularly reliant on growth to maintain existing services, provide the latest clinical care, invest in technological advances, and attract and retain talent.

The recent pandemic has likewise been a seismic disruption to growth for many health systems — creating high demand in some parts of the system while delaying procedures and creating consumer and patient hesitancies to seek care in others. Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that more than half of adult consumers have put off some type of health care services during the past 12 months. While some health care organizations have fared better than others, many have suffered significant financial losses. Almost all face new challenges related to the public health crisis.

A recent ACHE survey of issues confronting hospitals identified staffing shortages and financial challenges as the top-two concerns among hospital CEOs. It’s the first time since 2004 that finances were not the number-one concern. Overcoming and addressing both issues depends on the ability of health systems to manage and accelerate growth going forward.

Two recent trends underpin the importance and evolution of growth thinking in today’s health care environment.

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