Managing the Challenges of Sudden Growth

sudden growth of new patients

What would your health system do with 1,000 new patients a week? Market forces converged in Omaha, Nebraska, from fall 2014 through the following summer to bring Methodist Health System an unexpected boon: more than 1,000 new patients a week in the system’s clinics and hospitals.

The sudden surge in patients might have been disastrous if Methodist hadn’t prepared with strategies to meet consumer demand and keep physician and staff morale high. In fact, industry data predicted that the strain of the extra volume would have a negative impact on patient experience and employee engagement.

As a key strategy, Methodist partners with PRC to conduct five different studies:

  • Consumer top of mind awareness of Methodist
  • Community Health Needs Assessment
  • Employee Engagement
  • Patient Experience
  • Physician Engagement

Methodist’s President and CEO, John Fraser, is devoted to performance improvement principles and understands the need for constant data to mirror performance.

“The more we measure, the more feedback we can give our staff, and the more we can work on improving,” he says. During those 10 months of growth, “The more detailed our data became, the more impactful results we saw.”


For example, the Consumer and Brand study helped define what was most important to consumers when they selected a hospital and helped Methodist keep tabs on hospital utilization throughout the area.

During Methodist’s rapid growth period, consumer awareness, patient experience, employee engagement and physician satisfaction all rose significantly. The positive feedback energized employees and physicians and inspired them to move forward.

Methodist not only survived the growth through 10 months but was able to maintain its unprecedented jump in market share when the marketplace returned to its previous state. Methodist attributes its success to its strong culture of service excellence and the multi-dimensional research tools applied by PRC.

Learn how Methodist did it and download the full case study.