When we talk with healthcare firms about customer experience, they often ask about best practices from within their peer group, unsure that anyone outside healthcare can really understand the unique complexities of their industry. Yesterday’s announcement that Press Ganey plans to acquire customer feedback management (CFM) vendor Forsta signals that more vendors are interested in establishing healthcare experience practices that support clients beyond disjointed, siloed projects.

Regardless of whether this move is a reaction to Qualtrics’ recent announcement of its acquisition of SurveyVitals or last year’s announcement naming Dr. Adrienne Boissy as Qualtrics’ first chief medical officer, the Forsta acquisition gives Press Ganey a broader global footprint and deeper toolbox to support healthcare clients working to improve member experience and patient experience. It also helps extend Press Ganey’s reach into the broader healthcare ecosystem; for example, one case study boasts that Forsta’s revamp of CareFusion’s voice-of-the-customer (VoC) program enabled the medical device manufacturer to resolve customer issues 15% faster.

Both Forsta and Press Ganey have had a busy 12 months — the former’s merger of Confirmit and FocusVision isn’t yet a year old, and the latter acquired SPH Analytics in May 2021 to increase its predictive analytics capabilities. This new acquisition boosts Press Ganey’s technology capabilities, and Forsta’s wider industry reach enriches the pool of best practices the consolidated firm can present to its clients. Forsta stands to benefit, as well; the acquisition gives it a deeper well of investment for platform innovation. Press Ganey’s focus on health care and patient experience is also a good cultural fit with Forsta’s human experience positioning.

What it means for the CFM marketplace:

  • Healthcare is becoming an increasingly competitive vertical, reducing neophytes’ influence. Vendors that haven’t built healthcare expertise — and that aren’t willing to commit to specialized resources — should think hard about the investment needed for lasting success in the industry. For example, health insurers with more mature customer experience practices are connecting sources of feedback and data from around their ecosystem to explain and improve the CAHPS (Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) results that underpin their NCQA (National Committee for Quality Assurance) and CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) ratings. Pitching a generic, team-specific deployment that’s disconnected from larger organizational goals reduces the effectiveness of the voice-of-the-customer program and puts contract renewal at risk.
  • Vendors need to explain how they’re helping clients evolve beyond surveys. Survey responses are an important part of effective VoC programs, but organizations need to look at other sources of data to develop deeper insights. Vendors should consider how their platforms offer qualitative methods for gathering feedback about member and patient experience, such as diary studies and video feedback. They should also be prepared to answer how their platforms can ingest and analyze data from varied enterprise data sources to demonstrate an understanding of the complex patchwork needed to construct a complete picture of a member’s or patient’s experience while complying with regulations related to handling of protected health information such as HIPAA.
  • Clients should push for pricing transparency. How Press Ganey and Forsta will integrate and go to market remains to be seen. Reference clients for The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q2 2021 (behind paywall) appreciated the transparency and relative affordability of Confirmit. As with other recent consolidations in the CFM space, there is the risk of more robust offerings coming with similarly robust price tags. That could open the door for more reasonably priced, highly responsive midmarket vendors to gain market share, provided they can deliver on the industry expertise demanded by healthcare firms.