When determining a new site for a free-standing emergency department, urgent care center, or physician's office, it's extremely important to look into the amount of potential patients as well as the the degree of competition in the given area. At Alcott, our site selection process not only takes every single competitor into account, but also evaluates key factors such as drive time, convenience, and patient behavior.According to Alcott data scientist Phil Lenzini, the end goal in our site selection process is to minimize competition and maximize prospects for the client.
How do we accomplish that? Here's a step-by-step look at the process.
When a healthcare client approaches us with a new site selection project, they usually have proposed sites or specific areas in mind. To take an in-depth look at each site, we compile a list of the competitors, surrounding businesses, schools, and residential households in the area, which act as our key metrics in the process. It’s also important that we take into account both the daytime and nighttime populations available.
Applying household-specific data helps us to understand potential patients in greater detail in regards to their specific characteristics and habits and how likely they are to become patients.
Some projects rely more heavily on analyzing existing patients as well. We evaluate the areas currently being served, and we build predictive models to identify the characteristics associated with patients. We also consider payer data to understand the projected payer mix by area. All these provide the client with an extremely precise idea of what the prospective patients look like for each proposed site.
The most important step
Areas with greater populations are often also those with greater levels of competition. Depending on the type of healthcare facility we are planning for, our algorithms determine the choices available to each consumer (whether at home, school, or work) based on drive time from their location and determine the likelihood of choosing our site versus a competitor’s. Ultimately, our approach identifies the site where our client creates an advantage in locational convenience for the greatest number of target patients.
In the map above the darker areas show target households where the specific proposed site will compete with fewer competitors.
Our site selection engagements are consultative. We present our preliminary findings to the client in an initial presentation. Since site selection projects cover so much in-depth data, it's helpful that they have some time to digest it and can come back with questions later. This presentation often begins a back-and-forth process with the client, since the findings may inspire them to want to consider other sites.
In the map above, the orange areas are where the proposed site represents the shortest travel time to access emergency care.
Once we’ve incorporated the client’s feedback in terms of local knowledge and strategic intent, we produce the final report. It provides quantitative estimates of potential for each site, maps to show the specific areas where locational advantage is achieved, and our recommendations based on the data.
The most important thing is that our analysis empowers the client to make an informed decision when choosing the site for their healthcare facility.
If you could use some help with site selection, let us know. We'd love to discuss how we can help.