Survey shows big divide on healthcare

'What we found illustrates that both common ground and major gaps exist'
By Bernie Monegain
10:10 AM
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When it comes to healthcare, there are big gaps between how patients look at the future of healthcare and the way providers view it.  The conclusions come from the results of a survey published earlier this month by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and researchers at Ipsos Public Affairs.

The survey, “How We View Health Care in America: Consumer and Provider Perspectives,” reveals anxiety about the future. It examines issues around controlling and reducing healthcare costs and investigates the role of technology and social media for consumers and providers.

"This study was initiated to shed light on a basic issue: how consumers and providers perceive the future of healthcare,” says Grant McLaughlin, vice president at Booz Allen, in announcing the findings.

Booz Allen and Ipsos Public Affairs fielded a survey in August 2014 to 1,000 consumers and 400 primary care providers, specialists and administrators.

[See also: HITRUST taps Booz Allen as CSF Assessor and Job-training grants aim to boost health IT workforce.]

“What we found illustrates that both common ground and major gaps exist, calling for further examination,” McLaughlin adds. “We’ll conduct the survey annually to stay abreast of these trends.”

Survey findings reveal that only one-third of consumers (33 percent) and administrators (34 percent) think the healthcare system is on the right track, while just one-quarter of primary care physicians (24 percent) and one in 10 specialists (10 percent) share that view.

Key findings include:

  • Viability of practice:  Two-thirds of providers (67 percent) are satisfied with their current practice, although fewer (61 percent) believe that their organization is well positioned to succeed in a changing healthcare environment.  They feel least prepared to participate in risk-sharing arrangements.
  • Controlling costs:  All of the healthcare provider groups agree that controlling and reducing costs is essential, but they disagree on how to get there. More specialists (68 percent) cite tort reform, while prevention is seen as most promising for primary care doctors (61 percent) and administrators (76 percent). And while administrators are top advocates of prevention, they also embrace many emerging practices in which physicians place little confidence. These include technology (66 percent), telemedicine (55 percent), accountable care organizations (57 percent) and patient-centered medical homes (56 percent).
  • The app gap:  Two in five consumers (39 percent) who have used a mobile app to manage their health in the past 6 months say that it was their healthcare provider that recommended these apps for them. While seven in 10 consumers (71 percent) own a smart phone or tablet, only 22 percent of them use their devices to manage their healthcare or insurance. Exercise monitoring apps are the most commonly used by consumers who have recently used a mobile app to manage their health (59 percent), while smoking cessation apps (20 percent) are least likely to be used

[See also: Booz Allen identifies 9 ways IT is transforming healthcare.]

For the consumer survey, responses for a sample of 1,000 adults were collected online. The data were weighted according to U.S. Census population statistics. The 400 respondents surveyed for the provider survey included 100 primary care providers, 200 specialists, and 100 administrators working in and out of hospital settings. Total providers were weighted to reflect the current balance of primary care versus specialist physicians practicing in the U.S.

Access the survey report here.