Health Systems’ Digital Engagement with Consumers Significantly Lags Healthcare Disruptors, Navigant/Centric Digital Report Suggests

Analysis of 1,400 health systems’ digital presence shows providers trail innovative payers, urgent care, and new healthcare entrants in generating awareness and consideration of their services

Washington – New and expanding healthcare disruptors are outperforming nine out of 10 health systems when it comes to providing a seamless, integrated digital experience, according to a new analysis from Centric Digital and Navigant, a Guidehouse company. This digital engagement expertise is putting health systems at risk of losing consumers to disruptors offering more routine, lower-acuity care, the analysis suggests.

A provider’s online experience often serves as a digital introduction for awareness and consideration of the care they offer, and how and where consumers can receive that care. The analysis of the digital presence of more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems, powered by Centric Digital’s intelligence platform to measure consumers’ web experience, found that 90% of health systems’ consumer digital experience scores were lower than the lowest scoring disruptor. 

The average score for health systems was 635 out of 1,000, compared to 771 for disruptors across five categories: online provider finders, innovative payers, health retailers, urgent care, and IT-enabled primary care. The analysis also found:

  • Disruptors outperform health systems by over 140 points with search engine optimization for care needs.
  • Only 45% of health systems allow consumers to search for available appointment times/request appointment information without logging into a portal, compared to 75% of disruptors.
  • Only 3% of health systems have public chat. 

“Disruptors are not only seizing the consumerization of healthcare in providing access, convenience, choice, and price transparency for lower-acuity services, they are also reaching customers with Amazon-like capabilities built into their tools,” said Guidehouse Partner and Healthcare Technology Leader Subra Sripada, a former health system CIO. “This is one example of how disruptors – the same organizations aggressively competing with traditional providers for market share – are changing the healthcare landscape. Hospitals and health systems need to revisit their access strategies and bolster their tools to both protect their market and drive differentiation.” 

Consumer digital experience scores were calculated using Centric Digital’s proprietary weighting model, which benchmarks an organization’s digital capabilities against a library of best practices. The report focuses on the digital best practices that fall within the following stages of the patient journey:

  • Awareness – Search engine optimization, safe browsing and communication, and website performance (e.g., homepage speed).
  • Consideration – Website usability and accessibility (e.g., screen size and device adaptability), mobile optimization, navigation usability, and content readability.

“The majority of healthcare disruptors are digital natives that put the consumer first with all of their digital offerings across all stages of the consumer journey,” said Peter Smith, chief strategy officer at Centric Digital. “For hospitals to compete, they will be challenged to rethink how, when, and where they should be engaging with consumers. An essential first step is to improve the digital experience of a consumer’s journey.”

According to Guidehouse Partner Danielle Dyer, “An impactful, enterprise-wide consumer experience strategy cannot be developed in the way providers traditionally think about care delivery – it must be developed from a consumer standpoint. Deploying an innovative digital operating model is central to any consumer-centric approach. Health system leadership should look to more digitally advanced industries as models for their digital offerings, to include hiring digital experience and technology leaders from them as they round out their teams."

Most traditional providers do not possess expertise in such areas as customer relationship management or the nuances of cybersecurity that a true digital operating model requires,” said Harry Greenspun, MD, partner and chief medical officer at Guidehouse. “Similarly, digital innovators frequently lack sufficient understanding of healthcare to deploy these services successfully. Providers need to ensure they have a full complement of skillsets across their partners to offer a well-rounded experience for healthcare consumers.

Navigant was acquired by Guidehouse, a portfolio company of Veritas Capital, in October 2019. Navigant will fully rebrand itself as Guidehouse in April 2020.

About Guidehouse

Guidehouse is a leading global provider of consulting services to the public and commercial markets with broad capabilities in management, technology, and risk consulting. We help clients address their toughest challenges with a focus on markets and clients facing transformational change, technology-driven innovation, and significant regulatory pressure. Across a range of advisory, consulting, outsourcing, and technology/analytics services, we help clients create scalable, innovative solutions that prepare them for future growth and success. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the company has more than 7,000 professionals in more than 50 locations. Guidehouse is a Veritas Capital portfolio company, led by seasoned professionals with proven and diverse expertise in traditional and emerging technologies, markets, and agenda-setting issues driving national and global economies. For more information, please visit:

About Centric Digital

Centric Digital’s intelligence platform, DIMENSIONS™, measures capabilities across an enterprise’s core digital footprint – web, mobile, social – and compares them to industry standards and market leaders. Insights from Centric Digital intelligence data powers partner solutions, informs investors and guides C-suite executives through frontline managers to optimize business performance. Over 15,000 brands worldwide and across industries are tracked including the S&P 500. To learn more or schedule a demo, please visit

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