Press release

New Bain & Company research signals urgent need for change in the healthcare industry amid rising physician dissatisfaction across Europe

New Bain & Company research signals urgent need for change in the healthcare industry amid rising physician dissatisfaction across Europe

Between 20-35 percent of healthcare providers in Germany, Italy and the UK are unwilling to recommend their hospitals to friends and family; France is the only country to show a sharp improvement in physician satisfaction

  • September 05, 2018
  • min read

Press release

New Bain & Company research signals urgent need for change in the healthcare industry amid rising physician dissatisfaction across Europe

London – 5 Sept. 2018 Across Europe, dissatisfaction among physicians working on the front lines of healthcare has risen to an alarming level over the last two years, signalling a growing risk to patient care, as well as consequences for all businesses in Europe’s healthcare ecosystem.  Thirty-five percent of German physicians and about 20 percent of physicians in the UK and Italy say they would not recommend their hospitals to family and friends as a place to receive care. France is the only country to show a sharp improvement in physician satisfaction since 2016.

These are the findings from Bain & Company’s 2018 Europe Front Line of Healthcare report, which includes findings from a joint survey with SERMO of more than 1,100 physicians across 10 specialties and over 150 hospital procurement administrators in Germany, France, UK and Italy.

The research reveals that hospitals, pharma companies, and medtech manufacturers continue to rely on an outdated model of care delivery that is operating under increasing strain brought on by staffing shortages, budget cuts, aging equipment and inadequate facilities.  As a result, physicians warn they are unprepared to cope with looming healthcare challenges, including aging populations and the re-emergence of infectious diseases.

“The swing in physicians’ attitudes from bad to worse is striking,” said Michael Kunst, who co-leads Bain & Company’s Healthcare practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).  “Two years ago, though unsatisfied with the status quo, most physicians were broadly optimistic that new structures, systems, and digital tools eventually would help them deliver better care at lower cost in the future. In 2018, that vision remains a distant goal.”

The pace of change in healthcare across Europe has stalled. The industry has been reluctant to embrace new approaches to care delivery and the digital technologies that enable them. Bain & Company’s research shows that the leap in adoption of clinical tools such as electronic medical records that physicians anticipated two years ago, for example, has not materialized, and few institutions have embraced new management or payment models. Physicians’ use of analytics and clinical tools remained flat at 45 percent over the past two years and the use of risk-based payment models actually declined.  However, more than 75 percent of physicians believe that the digitalization of patient data could help them improve the quality of care in the next three to five years, as long as new systems ensure that information is secure.

In addition to inadequate resources, physicians also cite a lack of unbiased information, which impedes sound decision-making. More than 70 percent say they are dissatisfied with the information pharma and medtech companies provide.

According to Bain & Company’s research, physicians’ overall satisfaction in their interactions with pharma manufacturers has declined over the past two years, highlighting a need to improve customer points of contact and service.

Changes are also affecting medtech manufacturers. Centralized purchasing decisions in which procurement officers are the primary decision-maker have doubled over the past two years. This is an important trend, as the survey results reveal that procurement officers are even more dissatisfied with medtech manufacturers than surgeons.

The Path Forward

Change in Europe’s healthcare sector is well overdue. That is the main take-away from Bain & Company’s 2018 Front Line of Healthcare survey. Alarming levels of physician discontent describe a care-delivery model that has lost its ability to evolve. In fact, the pace of change is stalling as physicians struggle to live up to the changing needs and rising demands of patients and other stakeholders.

For providers, Bain & Company’s findings are an urgent call to action to take bolder steps redesigning healthcare delivery. They also highlight an opportunity. “Our research shows that organizations with engaged and inspired employees are far more productive,” said Loic Plantevin, who co-leads Bain & Company’s Healthcare practice in EMEA. “Specifically, our Front Line of Healthcare survey shows that providers investing in creating alignment around their mission and putting the right organizational structures in place to fulfil it have significantly higher physician advocacy.”

While the report reveals that providers as well as pharma and medtech manufacturers all have many opportunities to start improving the situation incrementally, the shift to better and more sustainable care will require a more holistic approach to care delivery. Leaders in every sector of the healthcare industry will need the courage to disrupt and redesign today’s structures and systems, leveraging digital innovation. Broader collaboration can help the industry achieve high-quality outcomes.

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview, contact Dan Pinkney at or +1 646 562 8102

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