Women’s Specialty Centers (WSC) are often a collaboration between service lines as a business development strategy that benefits both partners. For example, Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) has a National Center for Excellence in Women’s Health (WHC) and the Knight Cardio-vascular Institute (KCI). Both are well-funded and nationally recognized but they previously lived in different worlds and were not synergistic. After strategic planning and programming consultation, they developed a joint Women’s Heart Program that met the needs of providing generalist cardiology services at the WHC which steered women to the specialty cardiology services at KCI. It was a win-win for both service lines and more importantly for the patients. Women were screened appropriately for heart disease, diagnosed early and managed by experts.
That is just one example of a WSC that benefits both service lines. It met the needs of the WHC to provide comprehensive women’s services across the life span while helping the KCI meet their volume goals, differentiate themselves from their competitors, fulfill their philanthropic mission, and conduct unique research on women and heart disease.
Other WSCs are Women’s Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Centers and Women’s Neuro Science Centers. Women are the dominant patient population in both of these specialties and have gender specific factors that impact the clinical course, programming and outcomes. The development of WSCs either virtually or with physical space such a timeshares, co-locations or adjacencies, are a very successful business development strategy to dominate a niche segment of the market. This leads to direct volume and revenue as well as significant downstream revenue.
Other WSCs include comprehensive Women’s Health Centers that are multi-disciplinary and often include an endoscopy suite, ambulatory surgery center, retail space, physical therapy, food services/coffee bar, imaging center, pharmacy, gym including cardiac and orthopedic rehab services, and all ancillary testing. Also, Birthing Centers are a huge funding initiative and may include scheduled C-sections in the future. WSC development is one of the hottest trends in health care business development and equity funding, and if hospitals and health systems don’t leverage this opportunity and potentially joint venture with their providers, large independent provider associations (IPAs) and private equity funded companies will.