A rise in digital projects has been a significant driver in global healthcare organisations ramping up their use of management consultants – increasing 8.4 per cent to $9.4bn in 2016.

While the move towards digital has led to technology consulting becoming the fastest growing consulting service line in 2016, the ever-present challenges of regulatory compliance ensured that the risk & regulatory service line experienced the second-fastest growth.

These findings are published in a new report from Source Global Research, the leading research and strategy firm for the global management consulting industry. Source says that the adoption of new digital back-office solutions and customer-facing applications rose further up the agenda as healthcare organisations continued a largely piecemeal approach to digital transformation.

The Source report says that when it comes to digital, some clients have started to move beyond simply implementing new systems and are looking to consultants to advise on how best to protect the ever-growing volume of data they can access and how to harness it to grow their businesses and improve patient care.

B.J. Richards, Senior Editor at Source Global Research said:

“The ongoing rise of digitisation in the industry continued to provide a wealth of opportunities for consultants. Ongoing pressures to improve efficiency and cut costs drove work in other areas, too, including demand in some markets for help transitioning from a fee-for service model to value-based healthcare. While efficiency and cost-cutting have been at the top of the agenda for several years now, initiatives gained momentum in 2016, providing further opportunities to consultants.”

William Hinde, Senior Director and Practice Lead – Healthcare Strategy and Solutions, West Monroe, added:

“Healthcare clients have been behind the curve in new technologies compared to other industries; it's an encouraging sign that we are now seeing increased interest in robotics
and AI and how these innovative areas may improve quality of care and cut costs.”

Using the biggest and most sophisticated model of the global consulting industry, the Source report also reveals that China was the fastest-growing healthcare consulting market in the world – well ahead of the second fastest-growing market – the Nordics. Strong but more modest growth in the US market meant that it remained the world’s dominant healthcare consulting market, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the value of consulting revenues from the industry.

Repeal of Affordable Care Act

The potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act remained a hot topic of conversation in the healthcare industry, both in and outside of the US. Uncertainty over the future of US healthcare policy saw demand in that region slow in 2016, as clients delayed projects, including those requiring consulting support. But with no further clarity on the future of the ACA a year after the election of President Donald Trump, clients are now moving ahead with a focus on those projects less likely to be affected by any changes to the ACA, with consultants benefiting as a result.

B.J. Richards concluded:

“Consultants we spoke with were optimistic about the future of the healthcare consulting market. While 2016 had its challenges, the pace of change in the industry in 2017 and 2018 is expected to remain high as clients continue to adapt to the changing needs and demands of both regulators and patients.”

For more information on Source reports contact alice.noyelle@sourceglobalresearch.com or telephone +44 (0)20 3478 1207/ visit www.sourceglobalresearch.com.
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