Duplication, dead ends, and downtime can needlessly run up the cost of much-needed consulting services. Here’s how RHI avoids that trap and delivers the best possible value.
We’ve built Rural Healthcare Initiative to serve the unique needs of rural healthcare providers – including the need to keep an eye on budgets.
With fewer employees and leadership teams that are stretched to the limit, most rural providers depend heavily on outside consulting support. But piecemeal consulting contracts can be difficult to manage, and even worse, they can actually add unnecessary expense.
As a consulting collaborative, RHI is specifically designed to avoid those pitfalls. Working together as a team of diverse specialists, we save our clients from overspending in three areas: duplication, dead ends, and downtime. Here’s what that looks like in practice.
A Rural Case Study
Two RHI partners, Ascendient and Jarrard, recently worked together to reimagine the future for a small, rural hospital that was determined to maintain its independence. Leadership knew that change was necessary, but as the CEO pointed out, “Change comes slower here in our community.”
That’s a common theme in many rural areas, so it only makes sense to do strategic planning that accounts for operational and financial performance (Ascendient) plus culture change and stakeholder communication (Jarrard). By tackling both issues simultaneously, we helped the client avoid three common pitfalls and save tens of thousands of dollars in the process.
First, we avoided duplication. Any consulting contract is front-loaded with expenses, from demographic research to leadership interviews. It’s impossible to deliver a good product without laying this groundwork, but the process is time consuming and expensive.
At this particular hospital, we conducted more than 25 interviews with stakeholders, including C-suite and board leadership, clinicians, public officials, and more. By aligning our information needs in advance, we were able to conduct a single round of joint interviews that gave both our teams the data we needed to move ahead. Separate engagements would have entailed separate interviews, adding thousands of dollars in cost to the client.
Second, we avoided dead ends. When consulting firms operate in a vacuum, there are inevitable blind spots. We always go where the data lead us, but when the data set is limited by the type of engagement, it’s possible to spend many hours developing a plan that will never take off due to external factors beyond our Scope of Work.
In this particular case, from a purely strategic standpoint, we would have recommended dropping a favorite program that showed high costs and limited value – something that proved to be untenable from a change management standpoint. Working together every step of the way, Ascendient and Jarrard were able to spot such potential dead ends well in advance, helping to save thousands of dollars and avoid frustration for the client.
Finally, we avoided downtime. When consulting groups work separately or sequentially on issues that are inherently connected, we often have to keep a contract open or re-start a project that was deemed complete. The administrative expenses aren’t huge, but they are unnecessary and wasteful for rural hospitals that are trying to stretch every dollar.
Downtime has a bigger and more damaging cost, however. Rural hospitals often bring in consultants because they are in crisis – racing to shore up unprofitable service lines, stop an exodus of clinicians, or stave off bankruptcy. In those situations, every minute counts, and a drawn-out, piecemeal approach to consulting support risks running out the clock.
With our intensive and innovative deep-dive approach, RHI can minimize downtime and deliver actionable results in as little as 60 days – just one more example of designing a consulting solution around the urgent needs of rural healthcare.
This case study involves just two RHI partners for the sake of narrative clarity, but the efficiency of our model only increases as more specialties are brought into a fully aligned engagement.
Band-Aids won’t work much longer in the rural setting. When you need a total reimagining of healthcare delivery in your community, we offer a one-stop solution that incorporates strategy, staffing, facilities, legal, and communications – all at the lowest possible cost.
Please reach out if you’d like to know more.