GE Healthcare Camden Group Insights Blog

3 "Must Haves" When Selecting a Healthcare Consulting Firm

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 12, 2012 3:12:00 PM

016 healthcare consultant.ju resized 600We're asked the following question on a regular basis, "What am I supposed to look for when choosing a healthcare consulting firm?" The answer obviously varies from client-to-client based on need, but in general we like to suggest that the best consultants offer the same traits that good friends often do.

1. Good Healthcare Consultants are Good Listeners

How can a client's needs be met when no one takes the time to truly understand the client's needs and even the needs BEHIND the needs? A good consultant should ask probing questions and then sit back, listen, and let the client vocalize and conceptualize his or her needs and expectations. The best way to discover if there is a fit--for both the client and the consultant--is through a conversation.

2. Good Healthcare Consultants (and consulting companies) are Thought Leaders in Multiple Areas 

Good healthcare consultants are well-rounded. They are comfortable and knowledgeable in many areas and know how to get the the root of any problems their clients may have. It's not out-of-line to ask a potential consultant if they speak regularly to groups at industry events or write articles for trade publications. Good healthcare consultants are active in the industry and speak frequently at events so they can interact with people in different regions. This allows them to bring a national perspective to regional organizations. Some areas of expertise to consider are:

  • Billing Systems

  • Clinical Integration

  • Hospital Restructuring

  • Interim Management

  • Managed Care Systems

  • Management Reorganization

  • Medical Practice Development and Management

  • New Venture Development (Home Care Agencies, Out-Patient Services, In-patient Facilities)

  • Operational and Quality Improvement

  • Organization, Administration, Management, and Governance

  • Patient Care Delivery Systems Development

  • Regulatory Compliance

  • Revenue Cycle Management

  • Staff Recruitment

  • Strategic Planning and Marketing

  • Web Site Development

3. Good Healthcare Consultants Don't Make You Do Something You're REALLY Not Comfortable Doing

Granted, the role of a consultant is to often guide the client in new directions, but the best consultants know when to draw the line in the sand that should not be crossed. Everyone remembers that person from high school or college that ran in your social circle but made you a little uncomfortable because he or she wanted you to do something that just didn't sit well with you--something that you fundamentally knew was wrong.

The same holds true for consultants. Good consultants have a deep bench of vendor resources that may be called upon at any time. Being tied to one vendor or external source is not a bonus. Consultants who are "vendor agnostic" are often best because they do not receive benefits from helping clients with their pressing needs.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of requirements for a healthcare consultant and factors such as integrity, past history, industry reputation, and client recommendations should always be factored in as well. Do you have any "must haves" for a consultant? Feel free to share them here in the comments section on our blog. For more information, please contact Matthew Smith at Health Directions at msmith@healthdirections.com or 312-396-5407.

Topics: medical consulting firm, health care consulting firm, Practice Management, healthcare consulting firm, hospital consulting

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