NRC Health is one of the nation’s largest healthcare performance improvement firms, supporting more than 7,200 organizations.
Our integrated solutions portfolio and proprietary methods yield insights that help clients better understand the areas that most to the people they care for. Guided by this focus, staff can more effectively impact quality improvement and cost reduction.
Letter to Shareholders from 2017 Annual Report
As we concluded the final weeks of 2017, headlines across the healthcare industry highlighted the necessity for our nation’s hospitals to embrace an “adapt or die” strategy as the cost of delivering care outpaces available reimbursement. For health-system executives, it raises the question, “Have we awoken to a new reality?”
Your Company’s research over the last decade has illuminated the growing consumerism movement—patients voicing their frustration with escalating healthcare prices, and their increasing willingness to circumvent the system in favor of alternative models of care delivered at lower cost and with greater convenience and better outcomes. We are proud to stand side-by-side with our customers, not in fear of this new reality, but ready to seize the opportunities such tipping points provide.
As the industry reaches a crossroads, one thing is clear: getting as close to the customer as possible to understand a patient’s life’s conditions, frustrations, challenges, and unspoken desires, and then designing simple, elegant experiences that satisfy those requirements, is at the core of every successful reinvention. One year ago, we introduced the concept of human understanding—a belief that quality of care, costs, and outcomes all improve the more we know about each individual person. It is a radical change for organizations used to charting performance against industry benchmarks and the false confidence such metrics provide. Celebrating a five or 10 percent improvement in customer satisfaction scores is a proxy for understanding, but not the same as true understanding. The landscape is littered with recent examples of industries—retail, transportation, and now healthcare—disintermediated by new entrants that better empathize with the customer.
Human understanding is the preventive to being caught flat-footed. It means finding love for each individual and learning what truly matters most to them. It shifts the focus from transactional encounters to lasting relationships and the loyalty they bring. It represents a world in which individual customers’ insights are sought to better their experience, not to grade organizational performance against the competition. In an era in which mass personalization has become the norm, human understanding is an accelerant
enabling today’s health systems to both catch up to, and then exceed, consumer expectations. The insights it pursues enable healthcare services to be uniquely tailored, because with them, patients’ preferences are well understood. The awareness it engenders ensures financial alternatives are evaluated and arrangements made before the customer receives a bill. The learnings it elicits eradicate health disparities, because they allow each patient’s voice to be equally heard and truly understood.
At a recent all-associate meeting, I was asked the question, “What will NRC Health be known for, five to ten years from now?” I hope the answer is, our commitment to constantly evolving. There is no end destination on the journey to achieving human understanding. Human beings are fickle, and people’s needs are always changing.
Your Company and its greatest source of pride, its nearly 450 associates, will always be adapting—not because headlines have popularized the trend, but because it is the only way to exist.
Steven D. Jackson
President and Fellow Owner