Healthcare organizations struggling with consumer engagement in governance: 4 study findings

Healthcare providers are committed to engaging consumers in governance — which is designed to help implement the organization's goals — but this continues to be a challenge for them as they shift to value-based care, according to a study by The Health Care Transformation Task Force.

For the study, researchers interviewed nine integrated delivery systems, two physician groups/networks, one federally qualified health center and one accountable care organization about existing consumer engagement structures and mechanisms at their organizations.

Here are four findings from the study.

1. A majority of organizations (61.5 percent) said they included consumer engagement in their vision, mission or value statements. Nearly 39 percent of organizations said consumer engagement was only partially included in their statements, or they were unsure whether it was included.

2. Most organizations (91.7 percent) said in recent years they have increased the number of organizational structures with consumer/patient representation, according to the study. Some examples of structures for engaging consumers in governance and value system design/refinement included patient and family advisory councils, patient advocate offices, shared care/shared decision-making systems and quality improvement committees.

3. At the same time, organizations also said they face many of the same challenges to including consumers in governance and system reform, according to the study. Barriers cited by organizations included "difficulty with identifying and onboarding consumers (particularly nonretired consumers)," "lack of staff and resources" and "an underlying resistance to change."

4. Additionally, the study found consumer engagement is important in direct patient care, as well as the design and oversight of value-based care models. Researchers said federally qualified health centers particularly help other providers in this area because they have specific regulations mandating majority patient/community representation on their boards.


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