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By John Talbot, Ph.D.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Telehealth? Primary care? TMS? School-based services? Medication-assisted addiction therapy?

There is an abundance of exciting new service offerings available to health and human service provider organizations. But the real questions are, should your organization be looking into expanding your service offerings? And if so, what service is the right one for your organization and your market? These questions were the subject of my preconference workshop, Designing New Services (& Redesigning Current Services) For A Changing Market: Tools For Engineering Your Market Success all members at the Minnesota Association of Community Mental Health Program’s 2011 Community Mental Health Conference, Purposeful Strategies & Practical Skills.

Once you have established that expanding your service offerings is the right path for your organization, then it all comes down to the decision about how to expand. And deciding which service is right for your organization will depend on successfully using the same structured opportunity analysis we see in many other industries. As I covered in my presentation at the workshop on Tuesday, there are four key components to deciding on a new service line:

  1. Incorporating service line portfolio management into your strategic planning process – and using that process to come up with new service line ideas.

  2. Using a formal metrics-based vetting process for evaluating and comparing new service line ideas.

  3. For each service line idea that your team selects to pursue, conducting a formal multi-stage feasibility analysis (and being able to walk away when the numbers or the market just don’t support the idea).

  4. For service line ideas that survive the feasibility analysis, using a structure process for design and development of the new service line.

The Product Life Cycle

Will you need to develop new services? Consider telegraphs, mimeograph machines, turntables, eight-track tapes, fountain pens, polio sanitariums, typewriters…or in a word, diversification. We cannot hold onto the tools of the past when new technologies are being developed every day. Every product or service eventually reaches the end of its life cycle – even in health care. But the natural evolution of products and markets need not be a liability if you can embrace a diversification strategy across service lines, consumer groups, and payers.


John F. Talbot, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, OPEN MINDS

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To read more, see: The Tricky Path From Strategy To New Service all members 

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