Continuing consolidation among providers is causing a mirrored trend within the healthcare management consulting industry.
Many executives responding to Modern Healthcare’s 2019 Management Consulting Firms Survey acknowledged that they feel the pressure to merge.
“One of the biggest changes is the continuing consolidation of the consulting industry, which follows the consolidation of hospitals and the rise of behemoth health services companies,” said David Jarrard, CEO of Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock. “Consultancies are continuing to scale to meet the demands of major healthcare players.”
For boutique firms, consolidation can be the most viable solution for broadening their reach and offerings. Companies that haven’t developed diverse portfolios of services are having difficulty sustaining success as the industry pivots to new priorities and regulations, said Jim Costanzo, CEO at Nordic.
Dave Miller, founding partner at HSG, admited that his company feels the pressure to sell. Consolidation of both health systems and consulting firms has created a commonality of one-stop shopping for services, leaving niche firms shut out, he added.
Nearly all firms surveyed cited growing demand for consulting services in health information technology, whether it was data analytics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence or basic IT. Lacking resources and expertise in certain areas could make it tough for niche firms to shift with market demands.
Even so, some responding firms said consolidation hasn’t been a big factor.
Brian Sanderson, national managing principal of healthcare services at Crowe—No. 8 on Modern Healthcare's list of largest management consulting firms—said consolidation has not materially affected his firm.
“If anything, some consolidation has led to brand confusion, whereas our brand has been stable.”