Healthcare IT Consulting Market Stabilizes Through COVID- 19 Despite a 14% Contraction in Year-on-Year Engagement Revenue, Black Book Survey

Medical and health system technology advisory practices remained among the least impacted, holding up better than other global management consulting industries, although a 13.9% contraction year-on-year is indicated for CY 2020.

Nothing has tested the healthcare systems in recent years as much as COVID-19. Yet industry IT consulting has continued to guide healthcare organizations to make sound business decisions during this pandemic, albeit new urgencies and engagement categories of short term demand.

"Provider clients continue to demand advisory assistance in streamlining financial processes, telehealth, protecting patient privacy, remote patient monitoring, rethinking brand strategy, and reconsidering the customer experience," said Brian Locastro, Research Manager for Black Book. "In recent months, there’s an additional emphasis on overall digital strategy and analytics."

The Black Book survey of C-suites, financial and clinical executives, and health system board of trustee members revealed a 2021 uptick in the anticipated engagement of health IT advisory firms, reversing this past year's losses. "Now more than ever is the time to help guide hospital networks on ways to rebound and operate more effectively and efficiently in a post-COVID environment, " said Locastro. 

The past 12 months have financially squeezed most healthcare management consultant firms, as up to 34% of planned Q3/Q4 2020 advisory engagements were put on the back burner while navigating through COVID. Respondents ranked the types of projects they still expect to decrease in expenditures on both ongoing and new initiatives in healthcare IT next year. Hardest hits in 2021, as reported by the 1,117 clients polled, include decreased engagement expenditures for:

EHR Optimization & Training -72%
Vendor Selection -61%
Population Health -52%
Compliance Regulatory  -36%
Clinical Operations & Workflow -31%
Cloud & Infrastructure -25%
Marketing& Sales -22%
ERP Supply Chain -21%
Consumerism -20%
Outsourcing -18%
Value-Based Care -18%
Revenue Cycle Management -18%
Mergers & Acquisitions -17%
Market Research -10%
Technology Strategy         -4%
EHR HIT Implementation

  -4%

The five sectors of independent consulting which look least exposed to any drop in earnings in the healthcare industry are:

  • Cybersecurity     
  • ​Analytics
  • Financial Strategy and Operations
  • Interoperability and Integrations, and 
  • Telehealth/mobile/digital IT Strategy.

“The majority of healthcare companies are still incredibly lacking in terms of digitization and technology but the pandemic has brought us further, faster,” said Locastro.  "With that being said, healthcare IT consulting firms are concentrating more on virtual health capabilities as ​telehealth and telemedicine are no longer a choice but a necessity for providers to implement."

The remote and virtual patient/provider technological capabilities have more than doubled during the pandemic and should continue to grow in the foreseeable future because of the cost-saving and convenience attributes, will continue to propel IT consulting firms.

“The pandemic has brought the opportunity to elevate the healthcare ecosystem,” said Locastro. "But the spotlight on the inefficiencies has given way to these much-needed improvements, and the combination of business and technology consulting will be sought out in support of those improvements."

Current and past clients were surveyed from Q1 to Q4 2020 on the performance of 137 healthcare IT advisory firms, measured on 20 specific key performance indicators to 23 management and technology consulting sectors.  

The top-rated healthcare IT and management advisory firms in each category for 2021 were announced today:

SYSTEM-WIDE TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION & ORGANIZATIONAL DIGITALIZATION STRATEGY CONSULTANTS: THE HCI GROUP, A TECH MAHINDRA COMPANY

EPIC IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANTS: BLUETREE NETWORK

MEDITECH IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANTS: NAVIN, HAFFTY & ASSOCIATES (PROVIDENCE SERVICES GROUP)

ALLSCRIPTS IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANTS: GUIDEHOUSE (NAVIGANT)

CERNER IMPLEMENTATION CONSULTANTS: ORCHESTRATE HEALTHCARE

CYBERSECURITY ADVISORS & CONSULTANTS: CYNERGISTEK

OUTSOURCING & MANAGED SERVICES CONSULTANTS: BOSTON CONSULTING GROUP

REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT OPTIMIZATION CONSULTANTS, HOSPITALS: HAYES MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT OPTIMIZATION CONSULTANTS,  PHYSICIANS: NTHRIVE

CLINICAL OPTIMIZATION & WORKFLOW CONSULTANTS: VIZIENT

COMPLIANCE, REGULATORY, HIPAA & RISK CONSULTANTS: MED-IQ

ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING CONSULTANTS: IMPACT ADVISORS

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, COST & CAPITAL STRATEGIC PLANNING CONSULTANTS: KAUFMAN HALL

IT ASSESSMENT & VENDOR SELECTION CONSULTANTS: CHARLES RIVER ADVISORS

ANALTYCS, INTELLIGENCE & BIG DATA SCIENCE CONSULTANTS: PHILIPS HEALTHCARE TRANSFORMATION CONSULTING

CLOUD & INFRASTRUCTURE MIGRATION TRANSFORMATION CONSULTANTS: GAVS

INTEGRATION, INTEROPERABILITY & CONNECTIVITY CONSULTANTS: ORCHESTRATE HEALTHCARE

MOBILE, TELEHEALTH & DIGITAL HEALTHCARE STRATEGY CONSULTANTS: BAIN & COMPANY

HEALTH CONSUMERISM CONSULTANTS: OPTUM

POPULATION HEALTH CONSULTANTS: CONIFER HEALTH SOLUTIONS

VALUE-BASED CARE CONSULTANTS, PHYSICIAN PRACTICES: CAREALLIES

VALUE-BASED CARE TRANSFORMATION & STRATEGY CONSULTANTS, HOSPITALS: CHARTIS GROUP

HEALTH INFORMATION & CODING CONSULTANTS: OPTUM

About Black Book

Black Book Market Research LLC, its founder, management and staff do not own or hold any financial interest in any of the consultants and advisory firms covered and encompassed in the surveys it conducts. Black Book reports the results of the collected satisfaction and client experience rankings in publication and to media before firm notification of rating results and does not solicit survey participation fees, review fees, inclusion or briefing charges, or involve consultant firm collaboration with Black Book before the announcement of the polling outcomes.

The complete list of client-based firm rankings can be viewed at https://blackbookmarketresearch.com/it-consultants-and-advisors Requests for reports can be directed to research@blackbookmarketresearch.com

Source: Black Book Research

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Tags: Chartis Group, Conifer Health Solutions, Cynergistek, Guidehouse, Kaufman Hall, nThrive, Optum, Orchestrate Healthcare, Vizient


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