August 24, 2020

Executive Analysis Elevates a Transfer Center’s ROI and Strategic Value

Two health systems view their transfer centers in sharply contrasting ways.


Health system “A” regards its transfer center as a purely tactical tool for efficiently moving patients into and through the organization’s facilities. The transfer center is considered a “cost center,” having to compete for its slice of the budget pie.


Meanwhile, health system “B” sees its transfer center as a valuable strategic asset — a force both for elevating patient care and strengthening its financial sustainability. Leaders in this organization discuss maximizing return on investment through initiatives to strategically acquire and retain patients.


Why is there such a dramatic difference in how these health systems value and use their transfer centers?


One key differentiator: Health system B has seized opportunities to capture the right kinds of patient transfer data, which are transformed into relevant and useful intelligence. This executive analysis empowers C-level decision-makers to move quickly to achieve improved patient acquisition and retention, as well as more effective load balancing across the system’s facilities.


Enlisting the right technology and consulting partner

For health system B, the realization of a strategically-focused transfer center, fueled by executive-level analytics, started with the right partner — one that offers a proven mix of healthcare access and orchestration consulting expertise and technology. This partner understands not only which key performance indicators (KPIs) are important for executive decision-making, but how to package this information in a readily available (no IT assistance needed) and easy-to-understand format.


The net result: pre-built, role-specific (e.g., CEO, CSO, COO, CFO, CIO) analytics that provide at-a-glance, real-time visualizations of how the health system is performing in several key areas, such as:


  • Number of transfers from external organizations, benchmarked against industry best practices
  • Which service lines are having issues with patient leakage or bottlenecks
  • How case mix and insurance mix are impacting margins
  • Facilities that are hitting or falling short of corporate objectives
  • Transfer growth and leakage patterns, year to date and year over year
  • Operational bottlenecks and physician engagement issues that can lead to sudden drops in transfer volume


But how do executive analytics translate to timely, smart executive decisions?


Turning the numbers into meaningful action

Health system B relies on the partner’s consulting team, with its deep healthcare access and orchestration expertise, to help interpret KPIs embedded in the analytics and to recommend action steps that address deficiencies and capitalize on opportunities.


As a result, the health system has been able to make measurable improvements in patient acquisition and retention, along with enhanced clinical outcomes and increased operational effectiveness. Specific examples include:


  • Armed with the right data, the health system recognized and addressed transfer bottlenecks that were resulting in the loss of more than 500 patients per month.
  • One of the health system’s hospitals was denying 20% of transfer cases over the past six months, compared to an industry best practices rate of less than 5%. As it turned out, this facility was short on providers, and the organization took steps to increase staffing.
  • The health system was turning away a large number of high-value oncology cases. It was determined that the organization lacked capacity and needed to add a service line unit.


Transfer centers, or access centers, hold the potential to be much more than tactical tools for patient movement. One of the keys to a more strategic transfer center model is a robust set of transfer and access analytics, powered by healthcare access and orchestration consulting expertise and technology.


Contact us to learn how your health system can realize the full strategic potential of your transfer center.