Black Book Releases 2018 State of Healthcare IT Consulting Report

Triple Digit Growth Projected for High Demand Expertise

In 2016, healthcare industry management consulting was a $20 billion sector in the US. 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.

“Clearly, a framework of freelance and small niche advisors is redrawing the industry lines with the help of more knowledgeable buyers, pushing traditional consulting firms to explore innovative business models and forcing more collaboration in the market,” said Doug Brown, Founder of Black Book.

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.

“There is an accelerating trend away from one large consulting group retained to execute a substantial project for a health system client wherein 2019 we will see more arrangements where healthcare clients press multiple consultants and advisory firms to collaborate on project engagements”, said Brown.

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.

“With the expanded network of knowledge, clients can gain their desired insights, and the relationships between the different consultants are mutually beneficial,” said Brown.

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.

Among the 142 healthcare IT advisory firms receiving validated client evaluations in the survey process, 8 consultancies achieved scores of 9.0 or higher on a 0 to 10 scale in all 20 key performance indicators Black Book monitors for customer experience inclusive of the five major types of consulting initiatives of 2018: Technology Strategy, Planning and Analytics; Systems Selection and Advisement; Clinical Systems Support and Implementation; Financial and Revenue Cycle Management Systems Optimization, Support and Implementation, and Network Alignment, Connectivity and Interoperability.

In alphabetical order these top-rated, comprehensive IT services consultant firms are:

  • Chartis
  • ECG Management Consultants
  • Huron Consulting
  • Impact Advisors
  • Leidos
  • KPMG
  • Optimum Healthcare IT
  • The HCI Group

The full report on the State of the Healthcare Technology Advisory and Consultants Industry, as well as individual reports covering experts in multiple niche engagement types (see below), are available in Black Book’s research store.

  • Value-Based Care Transformation & Strategy Consultants
  • System-Wide Technology, Innovation & Organizational Digitalization Strategy
  • Go-Live Support (All HIT Vendors)
  • Epic Implementation Consultants
  • MEDITECH Implementation Consultants
  • Allscripts Implementation Consultants
  • Cerner Implementation Consultants
  • Outsourcing & Managed Services Consultants
  • Revenue Cycle Management Optimization Consultants
  • Cybersecurity Consultants
  • Clinical Optimization & Workflow Consultants
  • Compliance, Regulatory, HIPAA & Risk Consultants
  • Enterprise Resource Planning Consultants
  • Financial Management, Cost & Capital Strategic Planning Consultants
  • IT Assessment & Vendor Selection Consultants
  • Analytics, Intelligence & Big Data Science Consultants
  • Cloud & Infrastructure Migration Transformation Consultants
  • Integration, Interoperability & Connectivity Consultants
  • Mobile, IOT & Digital Healthcare Strategy Consultants
  • Health Consumerism Consultants

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 prior to the announcement of the polling outcomes.

In 2009, Black Book began surveying the client experience of healthcare software and services users, as well as polling for trend identification, industry insights and consulting outcomes. Black Book expanded its survey prowess and reputation of independent, unbiased crowd-sourced surveying to technology professionals, physician practice administrators, clinicians, financial leaders, executives and board members. In 2012, Black Book expanded panels and polling payer organizations, and in 2015, panel surveying of healthcare consumers.

See the Black Book website for vendor satisfaction rating methodology, auditing, resources, comprehensive research and ranking data.