Most hospitals, health systems lack consumer-centered capabilities: 5 things to know

A majority of hospitals and health systems recognize the importance of consumerism, but most lack consumer-centered capabilities, according to a State of Consumerism in Healthcare survey by Kaufman Hall and Cadent Consulting Group.

The detailed online survey was sent to more than 1,000 hospital and health system executives. More than 100 organizations participated.

Here are five survey findings.

1. The survey found a large gap between the priority placed on consumerism and the cultivation of insights into consumer behaviors, needs and expectations by health systems. Sixty-six percent of survey respondents said consumerism is an above-average priority. However, only 23 percent said they have the ability to gather consumer insights, and only 16 percent said they have capability to activate strategies based on such information.

2. Hospitals and health systems are applying the information they have about consumers in a broad range of areas. Marketing/communications (93 percent) and strategic planning (84 percent) are the most commonly cited areas, the study found. Respondents also indicated use in planning for facilities, products and services (75 percent); site selection (55 percent); investment (52 percent); and pricing (42 percent).

3. Seventy-nine percent of hospital and health system leaders surveyed placed above average priority on the need to understand and improve patient experience. However, only 18 percent of survey respondents said they have the capability to achieve that understanding.

4. Only 29 percent of respondents said that strategic pricing was an above-average priority for their hospital or health system. Additionally, only 9 percent of survey respondents reported their organization had advanced capabilities to understand what consumers are willing to pay and evaluate the effect of pricing strategies for different

consumer segments.

5. A relatively small percentage of hospitals and health systems are using advanced consumer-oriented actions. Among survey respondents, 15 percent are taking many or most of the consumer-oriented actions designated as advanced, and 28 percent are taking some advanced actions. More than 50 percent are taking few of these advanced actions.

In response to the survey, researchers advised hospitals and health systems to take action in four key areas: organizational alignment, content, capability and data/IT. They also said systematic planning is the key to overcoming consumer-centered healthcare barriers.



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