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June 15, 2022
David Burda
Consumerism Innovation System Dynamics

Healthcare Progress Is In the Eye of the C-Suite Survey Respondent

With a little extra effort, you always can find something revealing in surveys of healthcare executives, even when a multi-billion dollar, vertically integrated incumbent healthcare company sponsors the survey.

In this case, the sponsor is Optum, and the survey is its 2022 C-Suite Check-In: Leading Through Disruption report. You can download the seven-page survey report here.

Frankly, I didn’t know this was an annual survey done by Optum until the company mentioned it in this year’s report. So, I downloaded the 2021 report, C-Suite Check-In: New Research Findings on the State of Health Care. The 2021 survey report is 15 pages, and you can download it here.

The fun part, of course, is comparing how the two different sets of healthcare C-suite respondents — 153 in this year’s report and 161 in last year’s report — answered the same questions. The fun part revealed that healthcare executives are less optimistic about transforming the healthcare delivery system in the U.S. in key areas.

Here’s what I mean:

  • 92 percent of last year’s execs agreed or completely agreed that the healthcare industry has made progress in care delivery innovation. That dropped to 65 percent this year.
  • 69 percent of last year’s execs agreed or completely agreed that the healthcare industry has made progress in patient and consumer engagement and experience. That dropped to 52 percent this year.
  • 62 percent of last year’s execs agreed or completely agreed that the healthcare industry has made progress in data and analytics maturity. That also dropped to 52 percent this year.
  • 47 percent of last year’s execs agreed or completely agreed that the healthcare industry has made progress in care payment and funding evolution. That’s similar to this year’s 48 percent.

The only area in which this year’s cohort was more optimistic than last year’s cohort was how they felt about the progress being made in infrastructure development and modernization. It was 76 percent this year compared with 65 percent last year.

So, what explains the drop in optimism this year? Maybe this year’s cohort is grumpier than last year’s cohort. Maybe the survey caught this year’s cohort on a bad day compared with last year’s cohort. Or maybe execs are realizing that fixing healthcare is more of a slow grind than an overnight sensation.

I know a lot of grumpy healthcare executives who do have bad days. But I’m betting on the latter. The Healthcare Industrial Complex® is dug in deep, and it’s not going to give up ground easily. It will be a slow grind to win the customer revolution in healthcare.

Thanks for reading.

About the Author

David Burda

David Burda began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes this monthly column “Burda on Healthcare,” contributes weekly blog posts, manages our weekly newsletter 4sight Friday, and hosts our weekly Roundup podcast. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers — patients — are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow.

Dave’s personnel experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and family caregiver have shaped his point of view. It’s also been shaped by covering the industry for 40 years as a reporter and editor. He worked at Modern Healthcare for 25 years, the last 11 as editor.

Prior to Modern Healthcare, he did stints at the American Medical Record Association (now AHIMA) and the American Hospital Association. After Modern Healthcare, he wrote a monthly column for Twin Cities Business explaining healthcare trends to a business audience, and he developed and executed content marketing plans for leading healthcare corporations as the editorial director for healthcare strategies at MSP Communications.

When he’s not reading and writing about healthcare, Dave spends his time riding the trails of DuPage County, IL, on his bike, tending his vegetable garden and daydreaming about being a lobster fisherman in Maine. He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his lovely wife of 40 years and his three children, none of whom want to be journalists or lobster fishermen.

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