Health system CEOs are turning to consumer experience to create strength ahead of anticipated payment and utilization changes.
Healthcare CEOs continue to look toward consumer experience and consumer-centered healthcare, as they work to remain relevant in a competitive ecosystem and prepare for a potential pivot to value-based care, according to a new Deloitte report.
The Deloitte 2019 Health Care CEO Perspective Study, which includes qualitative interviews with 25 healthcare CEOs across the country, looked at how chief executives are shaping up their businesses as they transition into the new decade.
And by and large, it’s healthcare consumerism that is front and center.
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“The industry change that CEOs are witnessing firsthand reflects our predictions of a more consumer-centered future of health,” Michael Main, managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and report author, said in a statement. “Consumers want to take control of their health — they have been responding well to virtual care visits and are interested in tools that make their experience personalized, affordable and convenient.”
The interviews specifically asked CEOs about the biggest drivers of industry change, seeking to understand how CEOs measure success in their organizations and how they plan to address upcoming challenges.
On the whole, the changes in care site utilization – such as access to urgent care or retail clinics — as well as the surge in consumer engagement and questions about value-based payment models are pushing the industry in its next direction. Change has been harder and slower than anticipated, the report authors discovered, so CEOs are currently tackling more fundamental changes that can shift their longstanding processes.
Value-based payment adoption, for example, is much further behind than most CEOs expected. Instead of continuing the long and laborious slog to value-based care success, CEOs said they are looking to boost consumer engagement, support engagement with technology, and drive care coordination with virtual health options.
Organizations are doing this because it will put them in a good position for growth whether or not value-based reimbursement eventually takes hold.
“Organizations investing in consumer engagement technologies, virtual health, and care coordination are well-positioned for the future irrespective of whether reimbursement shifts toward value-based payment models or not,” the report authors said. “If it does these changes could certainly help; if it does not, these organizations will likely have a strong competitive edge when it comes to consumers and loyalty.”
And while CEOs have questions about the progress of value-based care, they have very few about the hold of consumerism in healthcare. They now have the data they need to actually deliver on consumer-centricity, being able to exchange data across delivery streams and create a holistic view of the patient.
The push for consumerism in healthcare is also being driven by the rise in alternative care sites, like urgent care centers and retail clinics, which draw in consumers because of convenience and cost. Health system CEOs are competing for this clientele, the Deloitte report noted, by creating a holistic patient experience that is equally as convenient.
“The consumers are going to demand change,” one health system CEO said. “If you just look at how consumer technology companies are mobilizing the consumer there, we’re being driven that way. We are seeing it particularly with the younger demographic. They are going to decide where they want to get their health care. If we don’t hold onto that relationship with the consumer, someone else is going to take it away from us.”
And while much of this will depend on creating a positive and dynamic relationship with that consumer, that does not mean digital tools will fall by the wayside. Organizations that have long been defined by their inpatient hospital offerings are beginning to invest in virtual care options that will help engage a younger demographic of patients.
“Successful health systems of the future are going to have a distributed large-scale platform of physical locations that have to be very physician- and ambulatory-focused,” one health system CEO said. “However, they also have to have a very large digital platform and digital capabilities and keep digital relationships. We think the organizations of the future are going to have both, not just one or the other.”
Even though healthcare CEOs acknowledge and are working to measure up to other consumer markets, some challenges remain. For one, data is still siloed between providers, payers, and other delivery streams. Payers and providers specifically are still reticent to share data with one another, although that relationship may be strengthening.
Organizations are also struggling to meet consumer expectations, especially when consumers compare healthcare with other service industries. Healthcare is not facile, meaning it cannot squarely fit into the consumer-centered experience that Amazon and Netflix can, although consumers still expect that simplicity.
“Like persistent and never-ending ocean waves, sometimes fast and big and sometimes gentler, the forces of health care change are nonlinear and unrelenting. Forged by the acceptance of market forces, CEOs recognize that staying the same is an untenable option,” the report authors concluded.
“Managing increasingly dynamic agendas, CEOs are balancing near-term performance and bond ratings with more aggressive investments designed to shelter them from decay and position them to emerge victorious in the journey to the future.”
Source: Patient Engagement Hit