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A survey of healthcare payers from North Highland offers four revealing findings about decision makers’ insights for the future.
As healthcare payers assesses 2019 priorities, customer experience tops the list as the most essential strategic priority with data and analytics a close second.
According to the annual Beacon Industry Trends report from global consulting firm North Highland, healthcare leaders maintain positive sentiments for 2019, with 47% reported being excited, 37% energized, and 31% inspired. A quantitative survey of 100 cross-functional decision makers in healthcare payer organizations with an annual revenue of $1 billion+, the questions gauged leadership sentiment, priorities, and strategic planning focus for 2019.
“Managed care organizations are taking action to place value-based care into motion, versus talking about impact and planning,” says Roman Fry, healthcare principal North Highland, a worldwide consulting firm. “This is due to the belief that the ACA value-based principles are here to stay no matter what legislation tweaks or changes may be rolled-out in the future. This is combined with strong financial incentive that can be realized if value-based care programs are appropriately implemented and operated.”
According to the report, the top strategic priorities for healthcare executives are:
“Consumers are driving needed changes for managed care organizations,” Fry says. “Consumerism seen in other industries is no different than what we are seeing in healthcare. Consumers are demanding better access options, service, transparency, and efficiency. New entrants such as Oscar Health and the threat of Amazon and Google, responding to consumer needs with new models of patient/member engagement is forcing other managed care leaders to rapidly re-visit their business models and the experience they provide to consumers.”
Preparation for data and analytics
Data and analytics in healthcare is not a new priority, according to Fry, however there is low confidence in preparedness for 2019.
“This is potentially due to the need for advanced data science that works hand-in-hand with advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence,” he says. “This is also the area where we see the gap in available talent and skill being the largest barrier to overcome. Top talent in the advanced data and analytics arena is hard to find for traditional managed care organizations, providing a unique advantage to new competitors that were data and tech first companies.”
With the rapid changes occurring, including record M&A transactions, organizations’ operational efficiency is severely impacted, according to Fry. “When companies are constantly transforming and integrating, there is not much time and effort available to optimize and streamline operations,” he says. “We feel this is the reason no respondent felt very prepared to handle.”
Cognitive solutions (e.g., AI) and blockchain were very low for leaders on the priority list, according to the report, but they have high confidence in preparedness.
“This may be due to the missing application of these technologies to business value,” Fry says. “We are seeing strong partnerships with vendors in this arena, signaling that these capabilities will continue to be outsourced with more of a reactive versus proactive approach.”
Based on the report findings, what are the top 3-4 takeaways for execs?