Few hospitals meet patient expectations
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Patients' healthcare expectations are on the rise, but hospitals and health systems don't seem to be keeping up, according to a new report from Kaufman Hall & Associates.
According to data, using the Healthcare Consumerism Index, only 8 percent of respondents to a national survey are applying customer expectation practices successfully. In other words, health systems are not giving patients what they want.
This might be an invaluable oversight for the 92 percent of organizations that are not making the grade, even though the data suggests that most consider customer engagement a priority.
"The problem is they've lagged in developing capabilities to meet core objectives of consumerism," the report's authors noted.
The "2017 State of Consumerism in Healthcare" report purportedly benchmarks how well America's hospitals and health systems understand their consumers and apply effective strategies to meet their needs in areas including access, pricing and improving the patient experience. The report findings are drawn from analysis of more than 125 organizations.
Diving in, the data suggests that as many as 90 percent of organizations identify improving the patient experience as a high priority, but only 30 percent have built capabilities to do so. Likewise, 73 percent of these organizations identify developing a diverse set of facility-based access points as a high priority, but just 25 percent have the needed capabilities. Finally, 58 percent say that offering digital tools and information to "enable consumer engagement" are high priorities, but only 14 percent of organizations have those capabilities.
"The findings should serve as a wake-up call for hospital and health system leaders across the country," Paul Crnkovich, managing director with Kaufman Hall, said in a statement.
Seems at hand here is that the healthcare industry continues to lag behind others in some of the most basic, yet fundamental tasks required of their customers. The patient engagement movement continues to move forward, and it seems that people are wanting more than access to electronic records and patient portals. They want their experiences to be more specifically geared to their specific needs.
That very sentiment seems to be offered by Kaufman Hill in its assessment of the study results.
"In the age of Amazon and Netflix, consumers expect more from their healthcare providers," Crnkovich said. "For healthcare executives, consumerism should not be just another item to be checked off a list. It should be a core capability, as it is key to long-term growth."
In many regards, patient engagement has become nothing more than a listed item to be checked. Despite this truth, many health system leaders who may be trying to engage their customers may not even know what they are supposed to do to "check that box." And if they did that for one patient, that same task may not be enough for others.
That outcome likely rises from the data with the following points: Only 15 percent of organizations are aggressively moving to improve patient access with both diverse sites of care and digital connectivity; nearly three-fourths of organizations rate poorly relative to their efforts to use consumer insights for decision making; and less than 10 percent of organizations are pursuing pricing strategies and price transparency as high priorities.
To say the least, those are some pretty substantial efforts that are not being addressed.
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