FTI survey: Healthcare execs bullish on own companies, cautious about economy

FTI Consulting has released a survey of 250 leaders from healthcare and life sciences companies, and the business advisory and consulting firm found that most have a positive outlook about the future of the industry. 

Three-quarters of respondents to the survey, which was conducted in November, were optimistic about their company’s financial performance and ability to safely return to the workplace and find balance in hybrid work, the report states

FTI, which is based in Washington, DC, conducted the third-annual survey among the industry’s leaders in corporate communications, investor relations, public affairs, business development and marketing. 

Despite their belief in their individual organizations, almost 90% “expressed concern about the potential economic outlook of the industry in the U.S. and what it could mean for investments in the coming year,” the report states.

The report also highlighted the prevalence of cyberattacks in the industry. About two-thirds of respondents said they had experienced a cybersecurity incident, such as ransomware and phishing, in the last year.

“We were surprised to see the large percentage of healthcare and life-sciences companies that experienced a cyber attack in 2022,” Robert Stanislaro, senior MD in FTI’s strategic communications segment, said via email. “This statistic, along with the fact that 42% of respondents believe that their organization is still vulnerable to future incidents, reiterates the need for companies to prepare and protect their organization from legal, financial and reputational damage.”

The survey also found a divide among respondents about the Biden administration’s impact on the industry. Fifty-six percent thought it would have a positive impact on the industry in 2023; 35% thought it would be negative. 

The firm did not ask respondents why they felt this way, but 75% said it is increasingly difficult to sustainably provide healthcare services.

“From a financial perspective, 2022 was a difficult year for the healthcare and life-sciences industry. When this occurs, companies review and evaluate the impact of public policy proposals and decisions on their business,” Stanislaro said. “As we kick off 2023, stakeholders in the industry will seek to better understand how the divided Congress, the administration and other significant policy proposals, such as the Inflation Reduction Act, will impact key issues for the industry.”

More than half the industry leaders said they expect their budget for environmental, social and governance efforts to increase. They expected to focus more on employee engagement and diversity and inclusion, health equity and drug access and affordability. 

But the corporate world must also contend with allegations that it is engaging in “woke capitalism” and that ESG efforts are naïve or hypocritical. 

Asked about this criticism, Stanislaro said, “As long as the integration of ESG factors into traditional investment analyses continues aiding investors in achieving the highest risk adjusted returns, we believe companies will continue to strategically disclose and communicate relevant information, mandated or not.”

This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.