Hospitals are failing to meet consumers' digital expectations, Kaufman Hall says

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While hospitals and health systems have improved their basic consumer-centric capabilities since 2019, they are not yet fully committing to the digital and consumer-centered transformation needed to meet consumers' care expectations, according to a recent Kaufman Hall report. 

For its Kaufman Hall 2020 Healthcare Consumerism Survey, the healthcare consulting firm surveyed more than 110 hospital and health system executives from across the U.S. The participants represent more than 100 community hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, rural providers, pediatric hospitals and rehabilitation hospitals, according to a Sept. 8 news release. 

Kaufman Hall developed the Kaufman Hall Healthcare Consumerism Index based on the survey responses to show how healthcare organizations are performing across the industry in relation to consumerism.  

Seven report insights: 

1. Only 7 percent of organizations performed in the first tier of the Kaufman Hall Healthcare Consumerism Index, indicating that they have a dedicated focus and resources for building a consumer-centric infrastructure. 

2. Most hospitals and health systems were either in Tier 2 or Tier 3 of the index, with the second describing having a thoughtful approach to becoming more consumer-centric and investing in systemwide initiatives and the third indicating they have started targeting specific consumer-oriented strategies but are not yet building an infrastructure. 

3. The remaining participants (7 percent) fell in Tier 4, which indicates that they are not working on consumer-centric strategies needed to meet evolving expectations. 

4. Participants are also increasingly concerned with health insurance, retail and technology competition, with 76 percent of survey participants citing UnitedHealth/Optum as a strong or extreme competitive threat. 

5. While most hospitals and health systems offer telehealth and walk-in clinics at 90 percent and 73 percent, respectively, only 37 percent offer in-home monitoring and just 22 percent offer home-based primary care. 

6. Hospitals' strategies for consumer-centric care are not always translating to improved capabilities. For example, while 66 percent of participants said they place a high or extreme priority on redesigning and expanding digital capabilities and physical facilities, only 11 percent are best in class for providing those services. 

7. The most common pricing transparency offerings for consumers are online price estimators (63 percent) and online forms for receiving out-of-pocket cost estimates (63 percent), followed by staff answering price questions in person (49 percent) and offering out-of-price guarantees for select services (23 percent). 

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