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2009 Survey of health care consumers | Whitepaper

Key findings, strategic implications


Conceptual framework

2009 Survey of health care consumersInitiated in 2008, Deloitte’s longitudinal study of health care consumers is designed to provide a comprehensive view of health care consumerism in the United States, a view that goes beyond the conventional boundaries of what health and health care are commonly thought to encompass. In addition to the traditional services that doctors and hospitals provide, the study’s framework takes into account the expanding spectrum of treatment alternatives, delivery settings, information sources and programs that are coming into existence to promote wellness and self-care, address health needs and finance health care.

The 2009 survey builds on Deloitte's 2008 survey by exploring consumers’ behaviors, attitudes and unmet needs in six areas:

  • Wellness and healthy living
  • Traditional health services
  • Alternative health services
  • Information resources
  • Health insurance
  • Health policy

Highlights of the results are included in this summary. Additional and more detailed findings are reported in accompanying charts.


A nationally representative sample of 4,001 American adults, ages 18 and older, was surveyed between October 2 and 10, 2008, using a web-based questionnaire. The results were weighted to assure proper proportional representation to the nation’s population, as reflected in the U.S. Census, with respect to age, gender, income, race/ethnicity and geography. The margin of error around the U.S. point estimates is +/- 1.6% at the .95 confidence level.

The survey consisted of 95 questions, with 42 potential follow-up questions. English and Spanish versions were available. Participants were asked about behaviors before attitudes within each topic area to reduce response bias.

Comparisons are made to Deloitte’s 2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers wherever possible, but differences in question wording and response scales – pursued in an effort to improve the survey instrument – preclude direct comparison in some cases until those questions are repeated in future surveys. Questions from the 2008 and 2009 surveys will be repeated periodically in future surveys to assess how health care consumerism is evolving in the United States.

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