Report: Hospitals not keeping up with consumer expectations
- Despite changing consumer expectations about healthcare, few organizations are rising to meet the demand, a new Kaufman, Hall & Associates report suggests.
- Using the Healthcare Consumerism Index, the firm rated respondents to a national Kaufman Hall survey based on levels of priority, capability and functionality vis à vis consumer-based strategies. Only 8% of organizations were applying such practices successfully.
- It’s not that healthcare organizations misjudge the importance of consumerism, the report says. In fact, most consider it a high priority. The problem is they’ve lagged in developing capabilities to meet core objectives of consumerism.
Paul Crnkovich, managing director with Kaufman Hall, called the results a “wake-up call” for hospitals and health systems.”
“In the age of Amazon and Netflix, consumers expect more from their healthcare providers,” he said in a statement. “For healthcare executives, consumerism should not be just another item to be checked off a list. It should be a core capability, as it is key to long-term growth.”
Key findings of the report include:
- While 90% of respondents felt enhancing the consumer experience was a high priority, just 30% had built capabilities to move the ball forward in this area.
- Nearly three-fourths of organizations said developing a diverse set of facility-based access points was important, but only one in four had the capabilities to do so.
- Fifty-eight percent placed a high priority on use of digital tools to increase consumer engagement, but just 14% had those capabilities.
- Just 15% are aggressively pursuing both diverse sites of care and digital connectivity.
- Nearly 75% scored low on their use of consumer insights in decisionmaking.
- Fewer than 10% were aggressively pursuing pricing strategies and price transparency.
Millennials now outnumber baby boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S., and understanding their needs and preferences should be part of any hospital’s long-term business strategy. In an Accenture survey, 22% of millennials said the healthcare system is inconvenient, while 29% said they don’t have a trusted physician or primary care doctor. Millennials were also more likely to switch providers if their expectations weren't met. In another survey, nearly half of millennials said they would request an estimate before receiving treatment.
Hospitals are realizing that great clinical outcomes are not enough to create brand loyalty in an increasingly competitive healthcare environment, and some have started to add concierge-type services and amenities to increase patient satisfaction. That can be anything from hotel-like lobbies to restaurant-grade menus and more. The idea is to understand patients as individuals, says Paul Roscoe, CEO of Docent Health, who spoke to Healthcare Dive last summer.
“One of the challenges that we see is that hospitals are invested in the electronic patient record and Big Data and healthcare analytics focused on the clinical domain,” he said. “But there hasn't been the same focus on creating the technology platform or the services to be able to manage the nonclinical patient experience.”
The Kaufman Hall report seems to confirm that view. Organizations would do well to take note and fire up the consumerism engines.