Survey of Major Health Systems Reveals a Greater Emphasis on Consumer-Focused Strategies, but Progress Remains Slow

Healthcare executives are investing in consumer initiatives but lack innovative approaches, foundation of insights, and analytics for success

SKOKIE, Ill. – June 25, 2018 – U.S. hospitals and health systems are doing more to try to meet the rapidly changing expectations of today’s healthcare consumers. Yet, significant room for improvement remains, according to a new report by Kaufman Hall, a leading provider of strategic and financial consulting services and enterprise performance management and decision support software.

Kaufman Hall’s 2018 State of Consumerism in Healthcare: Activity in Search of Strategy is based on results of the firm’s annual survey of more than 200 hospitals and health systems nationwide. The survey shows that healthcare leaders across the country are placing greater emphasis on consumer-focused strategies, such as increasing access to care and enhancing the consumer experience. Despite these increased efforts, however, the findings indicate that initiatives generally lack a foundation of consumer insights and analytics, favor traditional over innovative approaches, and have not overcome longstanding problems with the consumer healthcare experience.


Kaufman Hall’s Healthcare Consumerism Index, which analyzes the survey results, provides a lens to overall industry performance related to consumerism. It shows that there are few top performers when it comes to consumerism, despite broad awareness of evolving consumer expectations. Key index findings include:


  • Only 8 percent of organizations responding to the survey are rated Tier 1 performers for aggressively pursuing consumer-centric strategies
  • Only 23 percent are rated Tier 2 performers for piloting consumerism initiatives and identifying needs relative to the organization’s overall strategy
  • Nearly 70 percent of organizations are in Tiers 3 and Tier 4, indicating that they either have not yet begun, or are in the very early stages of their consumerism efforts

Compared with last year, a significant number of organizations have moved from Tier 4 up to Tier 3, but the percentages in Tiers 1 and 2 are relatively flat.


“Healthcare providers have been slow to adapt because they’ve never had to be consumer focused in the past,” said Dan Clarin, Senior Vice President of Kaufman Hall.  “This shift requires a new mindset and new way of thinking that go beyond traditional approaches.”


Looking at consumer access initiatives specifically, the survey results show that more innovative approaches to access are limited. Much of the focus continues to be on relatively traditional approaches, such as multi-service outpatient centers and ambulatory surgery centers. Findings related to access initiatives include:


  • More than half of respondents said urgent care centers are widely available at their organizations
  • Freestanding imaging sites were reported as widely available by 40 percent of organizations
  • Only 27 percent of organizations reported retail clinics as widely available
  • Only 14 percent reported video visits as widely available
  • Only 17 percent reported e-visits as widely available

Of all the key areas related to consumerism in healthcare, pricing strategy provides the most room for improvement for the nation’s hospitals and health systems. Only 5 percent of organizations rated in the top tier in this category for aggressively pursuing pricing strategies and price transparency, while an overwhelming 74 percent are Tier 3 and 4 performers.


About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting and software to help organizations 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 into their strategic planning and financial management processes, and quantify the financial impact of their plans and strategic decisions to consistently achieve their goals.

Kaufman Hall services use a rigorous, disciplined, and structured approach that is based on the principles of corporate finance. The breadth and integration of Kaufman Hall advisory services are unparalleled, encompassing strategy; financial and capital planning; cost transformation; treasury and capital markets management; and mergers, acquisitions, partnerships, and joint ventures.

Kaufman Hall software includes the Axiom Healthcare Suite, providing sophisticated, flexible performance management solutions that empower finance professionals to analyze results, model the future, and optimize organizational decision making. Solutions for long-range planning, budgeting and forecasting, performance reporting, capital planning, and cost accounting deliver decision support, reporting, and analytics within an integrated software platform. Kaufman Hall’s Peak Software empowers healthcare organizations with clinical benchmarks, data, and analytics to provide a higher quality of care for optimized performance and improved patient outcomes.