Services Firms Booming (and Delivering) - Cover

Services Firms Booming (and Delivering)

When was the last time you were wowed by your mechanic, or computer tech, or tax specialist? I personally can’t remember ever being blown away by the quality of a radiator flush (but if you have, please submit the contact information for your mechanic below!).

I would guess that more often than not, our expectations of these services are generally met, but it is rare that they are exceeded. That is not so with many healthcare strategic planning and assessment firms. Do you know of a services industry where all of the customers for five of the top firms didn’t have one negative thing to say about their service engagement? This is the case with these Planning & Assessment firms.

Some of these firms received the most glowing reviews I have ever heard from any provider interviewed by KLAS.  For example, one executive at a mid-size hospital said, “Their knowledge of and experience with (our EMR vendor) is better than (the vendor’s). They were 10 times more helpful than the vendor consultants. The project went off without a hitch and was a smashing success. They really knew the things to do and the things to watch for. They made me look like a genius.”

In lieu of meaningful use, ICD-10, HIE, and ACO initiatives, strategic consulting engagements have exploded over the past two years as providers have sought help in assessing their organizational needs and developing strategic roadmaps.  Of the 20 Planning & Assessment consulting firms currently rated by KLAS, over half get an A-/B+ grade from providers.  This is unprecedented in a market with so many options.

What is also unique is who rests atop the leader board. There may be names that you haven’t heard, such as Aspen Advisors (3rd), Cumberland (Tie 1st), Encore (Tie 1st), Hayes Management (6th), and Impact Advisors (4th). All get an A. These boutique firms have one-of-a-kind talent that the body shops of the world don’t have, as well as that personal touch that larger advisory firms sometimes lack. Although, when you see that Dell rated 5th, you can see it’s not just about the little guys.

The wealth of talent these top consulting firms possess partially explains these unusually high scores. Providers reveal that these firms provide much more than just book smarts and application knowledge; honesty, respect, attention, and partnership were terms not uncommon in much of the commentary KLAS collected from these top firms’ clientele. Of his engagement with one of these firms, a client said, “One of the things I appreciate most about (our firm) is that they treat us with respect. We are not as big as a lot of other organizations. More often than not, vendors treat us like dirt because we don't have a lot of dollars to spend. (Our firm) treats us well and partners with us. I highly recommend them.”

Call me when you can say that about your mechanic.