Hospital Executives Increase Focus on Patient Expectations

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While care transformation continues to lead the list of concerns for hospital and health system executives, this year two of the top four topics relate to patients’ non-clinical needs, according to The Advisory Board Company’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey. Specifically, meeting consumer expectations and patient engagement made notable moves up the list.

According to a press release from The Advisory Broad Company, a provider of insight-driven technology, research and services for organizations in transforming industries, nearly half (47%) of executive respondents indicated that they were extremely interested in addressing the challenge of rising consumer expectations for service. Additionally, 45% of hospital and health system executives said they were extremely interested in identifying patient engagement strategies, marking a four-percentage-point increase over the previous year.

“Health systems are facing a push toward consumerization, fueled by more patient financial accountability, as well as the push to population heath and managing the total cost of care,” said Lisa Bielamowicz, MD, chief medical officer and executive director, Research and Insights at The Advisory Board Company. “Health systems are seeking strategies that bring together these potentially conflicting market forces.”

Additionally, research from The Advisory Board Company shows that providing patients with inaccurate price estimates can affect patient satisfaction. Nearly one-third of hospital and health system executives (31%) expressed extreme interest in addressing this issue and developing consumer-focused pricing strategies.

The survey asked executives about their level of concern for 25 topics, ranging from reducing drug costs to mergers and acquisitions.  The top five areas of interest to hospital and health system executives are:

  • Engaging physicians in minimizing clinical variation (53%)
  • Redesigning health system services for population health (52%)
  • Meeting rising consumer expectations for service (47%)
  • Patient engagement strategies (45%)
  • Controlling avoidable utilization (44%).

There was little change in executives’ interest in working with physicians to reduce clinical variation over the past year; the topic was also the primary area of interest for executives in last year’s survey. Controlling avoidable utilization and redesigning health system services for population health both saw five-percentage-point jumps from the previous year.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ accelerating transition to alternative payment models is driving providers to redefine their business models,” said Chas Roades, chief research officer at The Advisory Board Company.  “The Annual CEO Survey shows that hospital and health system executives are embracing strategies like population health to help make shift from treating patients to preventing illness.”

For its Annual Health Care CEO Survey, The Advisory Board Company surveyed 209 C-suite executive members in December 2015. The firm’s membership includes some of the largest and most progressive hospitals and health systems in the United States. Survey questions are based on the Advisory Board’s more than 10,000 annual research interviews with health care executives.

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