Hospitals Slow to Adopt Consumer-Centric Care Model

Despite years of discussion to make U.S. healthcare more patient-centered, hospitals and health systems are still operating under a largely provider-centric model, according to the 2023 State of the Healthcare Consumer report, released today by Kaufman Hall. The report is based on survey responses from healthcare executives and interviews with healthcare leaders.

Kaufman Hall analysts found that progress toward consumer-centric care is stalled due to how hospitals and health systems measure performance. Only half of respondents said their institution tracked at least one consumer-focused measure like the cost of care to patients. Instead, most hospitals and health systems use traditional, transaction-focused business metrics to gauge success, like the volume of patient visits, the unique patient count, and inpatient market share. Consumer-centric measures such as how much a patient spends at one hospital compared to all their healthcare-related spending can better equip institutions to strengthen their relationships with patients.

“Hospitals and health systems need to think of themselves as consumer-facing organizations and incorporate consumer needs and preferences into their operations,” said Kaufman Hall Managing Director Dan Clarin, the report’s lead author. “Consumer-centric hospitals embrace a shift in how performance is measured. Traditional metrics that focus on transactions do not provide insight into the relationships patients have with the hospital or health system, or why patients choose one hospital over another.”

Among the key findings:

  • Health systems that have adopted more patient-centric measures use them to increase patient access (72% of respondents), improve patient satisfaction (67%), and enhance their marketing strategies (72%). In addition to making these strategic shifts, organizations must also measure and track the corresponding return on investment.
  • The most-cited barrier to tracking consumer-centric metrics is the lack of available data or technology (69% of respondents). Respondents noted that data such as outpatient data or measuring share of wallet is typically fragmented, and integrating data can be complex.
  • Other barriers include uncertainty about how to define and prioritize consumer-centric metrics (40% of respondents) and a lack of staff or staff role to own metrics management (34%).

The Kaufman Hall State of the Healthcare Consumer report provides a lens to industry performance related to consumerism, based on 59 survey responses from hospitals and health systems nationwide and interviews with a range of health care leaders. Respondents come from organizations in approximately 30 states, and represent health systems, community and rural hospitals, pediatric hospitals, academic medica centers, medical groups, and imaging centers.

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting solutions to help society’s foundational institutions realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, Kaufman Hall has been a trusted advisor to boards and executive management teams, helping them incorporate proven methods, rigorous analytics, and industry-leading solutions into their strategic planning and financial management processes, with a focus on achieving their most challenging goals.

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Kaufman Hall companies include Claro Healthcare and Gist Healthcare.