Improving patient outcomes overtakes reducing costs as top priority

Sept. 17, 2019
Survey explores perspectives of health system executives and clinicians across the U.S.

Healthcare leaders from large health systems across the U.S. revealed that improving patient outcomes is a higher priority than reducing costs, according to the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies’ second annual survey of health system executives and clinicians.

While reducing costs is still a critical focus for health system leaders, patient outcomes has emerged as the top priority, with enhancing the patient experience and improving staff satisfaction also top of mind. Nearly six-in-ten (57 percent) health system leaders (both executives and clinicians) ranked improving patient outcomes as a key area of focus in 2019, up from 48 percent in 2018. 

Reducing costs is still a top concern; however, it has decreased in importance for health system leaders from 2018 to 2019. Seventy-five percent of health system leaders selected reducing costs as a top priority in 2018, and in 2019 that number decreased to 55 percent.

The survey highlights health system leaders’ perspectives on critical areas of importance including operational efficiency, managing employee burnout, driving improved outcomes and an enhanced patient experience. Key findings include:

  • Three-in-four clinicians (75 percent) and nearly all (95 percent) of executives say that improving operational efficiency is a high priority for their health system.
  • Health system leaders agree an improved supply chain is a key piece of that puzzle: 58 percent say an optimized supply chain leads to decreased costs and about half (49 percent) say it drives overall operational efficiency.
  • Addressing operational efficiencies to free up more time clinicians can spend with patients not only reduces burnout but can improve the patient experience. Both clinicians and executives agree (73 percent and 60 percent respectively) that the lack of time to focus on patient care due to administrative burdens is the top driver of burnout.
  • Health system leaders appear to recognize the importance of addressing this problem, with most (82 percent) clinicians and nearly all (98 percent) executives reporting their health system is doing something to address burnout and workforce needs.
  • Clinicians see employee satisfaction (80 percent), levels of stress and fatigue (78 percent), and the quality of patient care (75 percent) as the areas of a health system that can be most impacted by having a healthy workforce.