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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is Service Line Success Embedded in Design or Execution? Part 1

The popularity of service line management has waxed and waned over the past two and a half decades. This can be attributed to a number of factors ranging from the changing nature of competition in the health industry to misalignment of internal resources to variations in clinical practice to mixed financial results.

Since its origin in the early 1980s, much has been debated about the structure, strategy and capabilities resident in service line organizations. In general the service line business model has evolved from service line marketing to clinical program operations to a more systematic approach of managing a defined line of business delivering a bundle of services to distinct market segments.

In practice, however, service line models differ widely across health systems and hospitals – and with varying results. Not all service line marketing models failed in the 1990s; not all integrated service line business models work today.The key question to explore is “what” creates success – the model itself or superior execution of a service line strategy.

In coming posts, I'll compare and contrast the various aspects of design and leadership. Please join the discussion.