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Do you know what providers are thinking? Here's what 183 C-suite executives told us.

June 20, 2017

    Do you ever wonder what provider CEOs really care about? We're giving you a peek into the minds of hundreds of health care executives so you don't miss out on the big picture—or the big opportunities that go with it.

    Our colleagues on the Health Care Advisory Board team recently surveyed more than 350 members—including 183 C-suite executives—from provider organizations to see what they're focused on right now. The survey revealed some interesting ways these leaders are changing how they think about their organizations' strategies.

    Below, we've highlighted three of those trends and included implications they on your business strategy.

    Observation #1: Health care executives want to get creative about growth in a consumer-driven market

    CEOs ranked innovative revenue streams as their top priority, and all respondents reported focusing on the outpatient setting to tap into the growing consumerist patient cohort. Improving ambulatory access was the most popular topic among the full C-suite executive cohort (57% assigned an "A" grade, indicating the greatest interest in learning more from Advisory Board about the topic), followed closely by boosting outpatient procedural market share (55% assigned an "A" grade).

    While last year's survey revealed more interest in growing outpatient market share than inpatient, 2017 showed a dramatic increase in executives listing it as a top priority.

    Bottom line: The real outpatient shift is just getting started. Providers are investing outside the hospital, bringing new clinical, operational, and communication challenges. Make sure you're communicating ways that your products and services can support clients across multiple care settings.

    Observation #2: There's a hunger for new opportunities to reduce cost—and a growing recognition of where those opportunities lie

    Cost management was another highly ranked topic, and executives are looking to get more creative here as well. Innovative approaches to expense reduction polled as one of the highest-scoring topics among C-suite executives (57% assigned an "A" grade), indicating that traditional tactics are no longer adequate. Many providers are shifting their focus to internal processes and pathways to manage total spend by reducing unnecessary utilization and clinical variation.

    Bottom line: Clinical and operational standardization is on the rise, but providers are increasingly open to other creative cost-cutting measures. Think about ways your offerings can both directly and indirectly help customers cuts costs, and support those claims with appropriate data wherever possible.

    Observation #3: No matter what their focus, many provider organizations risk forgetting the other side of the coin

    When asked how much time they expect to spend on cost control versus revenue growth efforts this year, a majority of survey respondents reported being "mostly or overwhelmingly focused" on just one of the two. Surprisingly, despite the general interest in cost management, more executives reported spending most of their time attempting to boost revenue. Far less than half of survey respondents are planning a balanced approach that focuses just "slightly more" on either cost control or revenue growth.

    Bottom line: Providers are struggling to find the right balance between cost and revenue efforts. Stay up-to-date on how payment reform is expected to affect your customers, and seek opportunities to remind them how your products and services can help them accomplish their financial goals in an uncertain health care market.

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