Most people have an intuitive appreciation for the importance of the right amount of sleep. Yet we are facing a problem with sleep depravation in this country that some would say is reaching epidemic proportions. This is why the sleep business is taking off, and no doubt why your own sleep center is probably doing well. They are likely doing so well in fact, that you may be considering opening, or you are already operating, additional sleep labs.
However, managing multiple locations can be complicated. The most direct result of expansion is that you will likely be forced to manage employees at distant offices. Your biggest challenge there will be how to make sure to retain a sense of cohesion, and maintain the feeling that all employees, no matter where they work, are on the same team with the same set of goals. Many believe the key to such human resource issues is to have systems in place that are easily repeatable and duplicatable. There is an old adage in business which states that systems run successful organizations, and people run successful systems.
Proper technology is an important tool in integrating your business plan, branding, and marketing, across multiple locations. However, most experts agree that there is nothing like face-to-face communication. You should plan on having complete staff meetings with personnel from all locations at least once or twice per year.
Value Added Services
A Sleep Management Solution, such as SLaM, can help you to easily replicate what your patients and referring physicians have come to expect across multiple locations. However, expansion can also provide an opportunity to not just create exact duplicates of your original lab, but offer some additional and unique services at one or more of your multiple locations. Some Value Added Services to consider are:
Current and Future Markets
Conservative estimates are that there are currently 15 to 18 million people in the U.S. with sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, and cardio vascular disease. The demand for sleep medicine services has grown significantly in the last decade. There are many factors contributing to this growth, not the least of which is the recognition of an increased number of sleep disorders. Over a four-year period between 2000 and 2004, The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the number of sleep studies performed more than doubled. In addition, CMS reports that since 2000 the number of reimbursements for CPAP devices continues to rise at an annual rate of 10% to 15% per year.
Despite the recent economic downturn that has curtailed the growth of sleep centers somewhat, the market still appears very strong. Hospitals in particular continue to find an increasing market to outsource for the treatment and diagnosis of sleep disorders, particularly sleep apnea linked to pulmonary conditions. As boomers age, and obesity has increased, nationwide sleep disorders are becoming more frequent. Even though the last decade has seen an increase in the number of Sleep Centers opened, and sleep studies performed, indications are there still may be a shortage of sleep medicine facilities.