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Survey: Patient Expectations and Engagement Among Hospital Execs’ Top Concerns

April 5, 2016
by Heather Landi
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While care transformation continues to be a top concern, health system and hospital executives also are increasingly focused on meeting rising consumer expectations for service and patient engagement strategies, according to The Advisory Board Company’s Annual Health Care CEO Survey.

As part of its annual healthcare CEO survey, The Advisory Board Company asked executives at hospitals and health systems their level of concerns for 25 topics, ranging from reducing drug costs to mergers and acquisitions.

Nearly half of health system and hospital executive respondents (47 percent) indicated that they were extremely interested in addressing the challenge of rising consumer expectations for service. And, 45 percent stated that they were extremely interested in identifying patient engagement strategies, which, according to The Advisory Board Company, is a four-percentage-point increase over the previous year.

For the annual 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.

The top five areas of interest to hospital and health system executives are:

  1. Engage physicians in minimizing clinical variation (53 percent)
  2. Redesigning health system services for population health (52 percent)
  3. Meeting rising consumer expectations for service (47 percent)
  4. Patient engagement strategies (45 percent)
  5. Controlling avoidable utilization (44 percent)

Although it did not make the top 5 list, developing consumer-focused pricing strategies was another area of interest for nearly one-third (31 percent) of surveyed executives. In fact, research from The Advisory Board Company indicates that providing patients with inaccurate price estimates can affect patient satisfaction. 

“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,” Lisa Bielamowicz, M.D., chief medical officer and executive director, Research and Insights at The Advisory Board Company, said in a statement. “Health systems are seeking strategies that bring together these potentially conflicting market forces.”

According to the survey report, 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 report states.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' accelerating transition to alternative payment models is driving providers to redefine their business models,” Chas Roades, chief research officer at The Advisory Board Company, said.  “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.”



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