Patients and doctors divided on healthcare responsibility and cost, a new study finds

Patients claim they take responsibility for their own health. Doctors don’t believe that. The discrepancy means clinicians have an opportunity to improve communication to better partner with their patients.
By Bill Siwicki
02:57 PM
Patients doctors divided

Patients and doctors might be even further apart on a number of important issues than previously thought.

Nearly 50 percent of consumers said they take complete responsibility for their health, in fact, but fewer than 6 percent of healthcare professionals believe this to be true, according to new research published by Xerox Healthcare Business Group.

What’s more, fewer than 5 percent of consumers said they don’t know how to take charge of their own healthcare while nearly 40 percent of payers and providers believe that to be the case, the Xerox study determined.

“Consumers and healthcare professionals have very different views on patient empowerment and control,” said Rohan Kulkarni, vice president of strategy and portfolio for the Xerox Healthcare Business Group. “Payers and providers are much less likely to believe patients are taking responsibility for their health than what patients perceive to be true.”

The researchers also noted that 90 percent of payers and providers say patients need encouragement and help from their healthcare provider to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but only 55 percent of patients agreed.

The study also found discrepancies between patients and clinicians regarding a patient’s willingness to shop for healthcare.

Even though nearly 75 percent of payers and providers think patients are shopping around, the researchers found that only 34 percent of respondents are more likely to do so today than a year.

When it comes to choosing a specific doctor or hospital, payers and providers answered that the top priority is whether or not they accept a consumer's insurance plan, but patients said that care quality tops their list.

“The industry is clearly still adjusting to the shift toward consumer-centricity, and payers and providers may be best served to focus on patient retention by enhancing their communication channels,” Kulkarni said. “These results suggest that improved communication could allow healthcare professionals to better showcase to their patients how they’re a partner in their health.”

Y&R’s BAV Consulting, on behalf of Xerox, surveyed 761 U.S. adults who are healthcare decision makers for their households and 204 healthcare payers and providers.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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