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Consumerism, patient engagement top of mind for health system CEOs, Advisory Board says

The study found 47 percent of executives said they were extremely interested in addressing the challenge of rising consumer expectations.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Healthcare CEOs are increasingly focused on business-level issues, a new report by The Advisory Board has found, as consumerism continues to reshape the industry.

While care transformation continues to lead the list of concerns for hospital and health system executives, but this year the The Advisory Board Company's Annual Health Care CEO Survey found meeting consumer expectations and patient engagement join the top concerns.

The study found 47 percent of executive respondents said that they were extremely interested in addressing the challenge of rising consumer expectations for service. And 45 percent of hospital and health system executives said they were extremely interested in identifying patient engagement strategies -- a 4 percent increase over the previous year.

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[Also: 2016 the year of consumerism in healthcare as providers rush to adapt]

The Advisory Board Company surveyed 209 C-suite executives in December 2015 for the report.

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

Research shows that providing patients with inaccurate price estimates can affect patient satisfaction, and about 31 percent of executives polled expressed "extreme" interest in addressing the issue and developing consumer-focused pricing strategies.

[Also: Updated roundup of latest executive moves]

The survey asked executives about their level of concern for 25 topics, ranging from reducing drug costs to mergers and acquisitions. Fifty-three percent expressed interest in engaging physicians to minimize clinical variation; 52 percent saw redesigning health system services for population health as vitally important; and 47 percent said meeting rising consumer expectations for service was a top priority. Patient engagement strategies and controlling avoidable utilization rounded out the top five topics, at 45 and 44 percent, respectively.

Controlling avoidable utilization and redesigning health system services for population health both saw 5 perecent jumps from the previous year.

Twitter: @JELagasse