Black Book releases 2018 State of Healthcare IT Consulting Report, triple digit growth projected for high demand expertise

Aug. 15, 2018

In 2016, healthcare industry management consulting was a $20 billion sector in the U.S. The marketplace more than doubled exceeding $45 billion in the calendar year 2017 and projections have 2018 topping nearly $53 billion.

Consultants continued to benefit from the ongoing pressures to improve efficiency and cut costs including the transition of markets from the fee-for-service model to value-based healthcare. Hospitals, health systems, medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers, payers, insurers, physician groups seek skillful advisors for counsel and specialized project management expertise.

The most substantial portion of these management consultant engagements expenditures, 64% or about $29 billion, involve the implementation of software, information systems, systems integration and optimization, and support for the growing number of industry mergers and acquisitions. Teams of analysts and principals lead what can be multimillion-dollar engagements and organizations are eager to leverage their experience.

1,586 respondents to the 2018 Black Book survey reveal the three current market drivers of healthcare consulting at their organizations to be:

  • Lack of highly skilled IT professionals in healthcare (81% of respondents)
  • Adoption of cloud technology in healthcare (74%)
  • Increased industry digitalization (71%)

Among all IT engagements being vetted, nearly two-thirds of providers participating in the survey will seek advisors to optimize their current EHR & RCM systems (61%) and to access experts in software training and implementation (46%) in 2019.

On the wishlist of provider executives surveyed, the other highly sought engagements for their upcoming fiscal year include:

  • Value-based care (39% of respondents will seek VBC and Population Health advice)
  • Cloud infrastructure (37%)
  • Compliance issues (33%)
  • Big data, decision support & analytics (31%)

Cybersecurity, interoperability, and healthcare consumer initiatives in provider and payer organizations, although increasing in concern, were not among the top ten consultant engagements prioritized for 2019 as currently noted by the Q2 2018 survey.

With the proliferation of new business models, healthcare IT consultants are moving away from an overreliance on labor-intensive specialists to incorporate more technology-based solutions and business models. Advisors are leveraging technologies that automate consulting capabilities and embrace digital tools for operations according to a corresponding Black Book study of consultant firm leaders.

84% of respondents report they will be seeking multiple-sourced consultants to work on engagements and projects together including single shop consultants, single freelancers, group purchasing organizations, HIT vendors, networks of freelancers, boutique advisory firms, as well as major consultancies.

Healthcare executives have shifted in thinking that their organizational interests are best served by retaining niche firms with expertise specific to their size, scope, and delivery system differentiators. Black Book is tracking various consultants that are working together for the good of provider systems that have engaged them on initiatives with track records of cooperation and collaboration for research updates.

Black Book has the full release

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