Hospitals and Health Systems Struggle to Address Changing Healthcare Consumer Needs, According to Kaufman Hall Survey Results

96 Percent Say Understanding Patients as Consumers Is Very Important; However, Only 15 Percent Are Very Confident in Their Organization’s Consumerism Strategy

Many healthcare organizations lack a sufficient understanding of consumer needs and the strategies to meet those needs, according to results of a survey of hospital and health system senior executives by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of strategic, capital, financial, and transaction advisory services and software tools.

Ninety-six percent of survey respondents said that understanding patients as consumers is very important. However, only 13 percent said that their organization understands healthcare consumer needs and wants very well, while 29 percent said their organization has an insufficient understanding of consumer wants and needs. Similarly, only 15 percent were very confident that their organization has a clear strategy and action plan for becoming more consumer-focused, while 28 percent said that they are minimally or not confident in their organization’s consumerism strategy.

The role of the individual in healthcare is rapidly transforming from passive patient to active consumer. This shift is being driven by patients’ increased financial responsibility for their healthcare costs, the availability of highly convenient and low-cost care-delivery options such as retail clinics and virtual care, and the increasing number of tools that consumers can use to compare cost and quality among providers.

Survey respondents also described a wide range of positions responsible for their organization’s consumer strategy: 27 percent said the chief executive officer, 19 percent said the chief strategy officer, 12 percent said an executive team, 9 percent said the chief operating officer, 8 percent said the chief marketing officer, and 5 percent said a patient experience officer or director. Thirteen percent said that no one is responsible for consumerism, or that they don’t know who is responsible.

“Consumer strategy should be a foundational organizational competence that meets varied and evolving consumer needs and expectations,” said Mark Grube, Managing Director at Kaufman Hall. “These survey findings suggest that organizations need to take a hard look at their organizational readiness for a more activated consumer, including their understanding of consumer segments and strategies for pricing, access, and experience. Organizations that lack a consumer strategy will find themselves at a significant disadvantage in the face of growing competition from innovative, consumer-focused healthcare providers.”

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