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The Outlook for Healthcare Consulting: Factors Driving Demand

By Elxo on August 03, 2023
The Outlook for Healthcare Consulting: Factors Driving Demand
The Outlook for Healthcare Consulting: Factors Driving Demand

The Outlook for Healthcare Consulting: Factors Driving Demand

By Elxo on August 03, 2023

There are impressive projections for healthcare consulting as an industry; not only does it have a 10% compound annual growth rate, analysts predict it will exceed $50B by 2031.

With this rapid growth comes an uncomfortable truth: Many of us don’t really understand the full extent of healthcare consulting or why it’s such a big industry. What is healthcare consulting designed to do? Why are so many organizations looking to hire a healthcare consulting company?

Patient Factors That Drive the Need for Healthcare Consulting Groups

The healthcare industry as a whole is continually growing, along with its attendant pain points. Experienced healthcare leaders know that ongoing operational challenges will often spur a need to seek outside help, but trends on the consumer side of the equation are also pushing the uptick in healthcare consulting partnerships, including population shifts and different care delivery expectations.

Changing Patient Demographics and Needs

The demands on healthcare are increasing along with our populations. Patients have evolving needs that dictate the type of care they require, and this complexity adds additional stress on healthcare organizations that can be alleviated by collaborating with healthcare consulting groups. Some such factors are:

  • Life Expectancy: 

    Experts predict that the number of adults aged 60+ who need long-term care will triple by 2050. Furthermore, members of our elderly population are three times more likely to seek out healthcare than younger people.
  • Chronic Conditions: 

    Increased lifespan means more elderly people, which in turn means more chronic conditions. The number of individuals aged 50+ with one or more chronic conditions is set to grow a whopping 99.5% by 2050.
  • Environmental and Lifestyle Diseases: 

    The prevalence of obesity and diabetes remains a constant struggle for healthcare, with skyrocketing associated costs. As many as one-third of adults may develop diabetes by 2050. Air quality and climate change are expected to affect long-term cardiovascular health, as well.
  • Rising Costs: 

    Sticker shock is a barrier for younger people, with about third of Gen Z patients citing money as a factor for not seeking more comprehensive, timely care. The lack of routine medical care could become a contributing factor in later-in-life health issues.

Expectations of Care Delivery

Even before the advent of COVID-19, patient expectations about the convenience of care were starting to reshape the healthcare market. Millennials began to veer away from the traditional model of annual physicals and in-office visits with primary care providers in favor of the ease of walk-in clinics and urgent care facilities. Technology is also driving the adoption of consumer-friendly care delivery models that require healthcare facilities to adapt, often by leveraging the technical know-how and strategic expertise of a healthcare consulting company. These models include:

  • Telehealth: Digital care and medical apps hit their heyday during the pandemic, due to social distancing, remote work opportunities, and mass exodus from cities. The practicality of apps and expectation of walk-in service have since become staples in healthcare.
  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM): The use of in-home devices pairs well with telehealth. Consumers benefit from the convenience and reduced travel time. RPM is especially useful for rural patients and those with mobility concerns.
  • Noncentralized care: The increased mobility of younger generations and proliferation of retail walk-in locations has made a centralized family doctor the exception rather than the rule for young patients – a trend that’s likely to continue for Gen Z and Gen Alpha healthcare consumers.

Download eBook – Finding the Best Healthcare Consulting Firm: An Expert Guide

Healthcare Organizations’ Operational Inefficiencies

Of course, hiring a healthcare consulting company can often serve as a power move to enhance internal operations by getting an outsider’s perspective on what isn't working and how to fix it. Organizations face a gamut of demands on time and resources that need to be prioritized and optimized. Companies may seek out healthcare consulting services to streamline aspects of their businesses including:

Human Resources

Finding talented professionals is challenging in any industry, but in healthcare, the stakes are high. Your responsibilities extend beyond employees to the patients receiving care.

Depending on the segment of care an organization provides, HR departments may be juggling a variety of governing policies and compliance concerns. From licensing verification to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to legal concerns, HR must cover a lot of ground.

Staff turnover is costly, and as responsibilities shift to compensate for employee changes, productivity can suffer. Maintaining hierarchies, job descriptions, and workflows can get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day human resources operations.

Administrative Processes

Despite healthcare’s expansive growth, administering it remains a convoluted process. Computing systems, and even entire departments, can be siloed, making manual tasks a necessary evil, liable to introduce errors. Reliance on paper hard copies compromises privacy and complicates file storage. Upgrades and digitization often happen in fits and starts, without comprehensive evaluations of organization-wide needs and priorities.

Streamlining systems is an ongoing project , requiring the cooperation of all stakeholders to reduce duplication of tasks, minimize clinician burden, and keep the focus on the patients’ needs. Creating a plan to upgrade to more advanced technologies requires expert advice.

Determining the correct technologie to adopt is just the first step. Data migration and employee training are crucial; having the technology is one thing, but proper handling of sensitive data and making sure staff is adequately trained on best practices is equally as important.

Patient Management

Ultimately, all tasks are in service of the patient. When it comes to streamlining the path between a patient and their care team, how well are you meeting their needs? Is information shared with them regularly? Can their clinicians communicate with them quickly and easily? Do patients complain that your app or interface is too slow or hard to use?

Smoothing out rough spots in the communications exchange should be a priority project for any care provider. It’s a valuable time-saver that also improves patient compliance and outcomes

In addition, your data reports should be providing you the means to analyze whether patient flows are effective and efficient. Accessing and interpreting data should be straightforward – is it? And are you implementing data-driven solutions?

Mergers and Acquisitions

What is healthcare consulting able to contribute here? Plenty. Two companies becoming one have double the number of the above concerns, in every category. Don’t go it alone. A healthcare consulting group that meets your needs as a trusted partner can facilitate the transition.

What Does Your Organization Need?

Facing the daunting process of upgrades is enough to make some organizations simply stick with the status quo, but a proactive approach is always better than a reactive one.

Did you recognize your organization’s pain points above? Maybe it’s time to consider contacting a healthcare consulting company to tackle your unique needs. Be sure that the consultants you choose have experience managing your specific areas of concern in order to ensure the right fit in your working relationship.

Contact Elxo to find out how customized healthcare consulting solutions can help your organization grow confidently and efficiently.

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