Hospitals shake up performance metrics for patient centricity

Despite years of talking about patient centricity and developing strategies for patient-driven care, many hospitals still miss the mark, according to Kaufman Hall.

In the 2023 State of Healthcare Consumer Report, released Nov. 7, Kafuman Hall found hospitals and health systems haven't aligned performance metrics with patient-centric care efforts. The firm surveyed 59 healthcare executives and found just half reported tracking at least one consumer-focused measure.

"Hospitals and health systems need to think of themselves as consumer-facing organizations and incorporate consumer needs and preferences into their options," wrote Dan Clarin, the report's lead author and managing director at Kaufman Hall. "Consumer-centric hospitals embrace a shift in how performance is measured. Traditional metrics that focus on transactions do not provide insight into the relationships patients have with the hospital or health system, or why patients choose one hospital over another."

Most health systems gauge success by traditional business metrics, including patient visit volume, unique patient count, and inpatient market share, according to the report. Hospitals serious about patient-centric care focus on measures including new patient acquisition, patient retention, share of wallet and time spent at the hospital.

"Without measuring underlying consumer dynamics, health systems miss crucial opportunities to invest in impactful consumer-centric strategies that could solve a number of challenges," wrote Mr. Clarin. "While leading health systems maintain strong inpatient market share, the share of consumer healthcare spending they capture is significantly lower. Health systems today capture only a fraction of a consumer’s lifetime value."

When hospitals do adopt patient centric measures, the report found 72 percent improved patient access and 67% increased patient satisfaction. Marketing strategies also improved at many of the hospitals.

But hospitals can't just make strategy updates; they need to measure and track the return on investment, the report notes. There were several barriers executives cited to adding patient-centric measures, including:

  • Lack of data and technology: 69%
  • Uncertainty about defining and prioritizing consumer-centric metrics: 40%
  • Lack of staff or role to own and manage metrics: 34%

The report did highlight one health system that developed a roadmap with specific goals to reach over four years and targets including increasing unique patient numbers and retained patients. After tracking performance, leaders shared the metrics regularly with the C-suite and board.

"The investment in data, capabilities and change management is significant, but health systems must make the investment if they are going to beat current performance trends. Traditional means of growth are no longer yielding high enough results to overcome cost inflation, and a new understanding of the business model gained via consumer-centric metrics would unlock a different playbook for attracting and retaining consumers," the report notes.

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