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Deloitte Consumer Surveys

By July 5, 2011Commentary

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions released its two most recent surveys of consumers regarding health care, one covering the United States and one global.   (Deloitte Surveys) The US Survey covered 4000 adults and was conducted in April 2011.  It covered six main areas:  wellness and healthy living; information resources; traditional and alternative health services; health insurance; and health policy.  Most consumers (76%) continue to feel they don’t understand the health system well.  Most believe that hospital costs, lifestyle choices and fraud drive health spending.  Half of respondents believe that 50% or more of health spending is wasted (but of course, not theirs), largely because people don’t take individual responsibility for health (but of course, not them), defensive medicine and not using evidence-based medicine.  Most think our system is poor and worse than other countries.  The recession impacted most people’s health spending and say that spending limits what else they can buy and many have skipped care.

Most consumers (90%) say they are in good health, 76% had a routine checkup in the last year and 25% participate in wellness programs, but fewer than in past years reported using the internet for health purposes.  Eight in ten consumers has a primary care provider and most are satisfied with that care.  About 20% have used a retail clinic and more would do so if it cost less than a doctor visit or reduced waiting time.  Almost 90% of consumers have some kind of insurance coverage and most believe it is adequate, but more than half don’t think they understand the terms of their coverage.  Most believe the US has good access to the latest treatments, but that the system does not perform well on wellness and service.

The global report asks similar questions but of citizens in eleven additional countries.   Across these countries, citizens share three perceptions:  their health system is not as good as they think other systems are; they don’t understand their system and there is waste in spending that is largely attributable to lack of individual responsibility and too much paperwork.  The three surveyed countries whose citizens like their system less than Americans do were Brazil, Mexico and Portugal.  Although researchers like to say that outcomes and health status are worse in the US than most developed countries, more Americans said they were in very good health than did citizens of any other country.  Most global consumers health spending was affected by the recession.  Well done reports that provide interesting information.

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