2011 Survey of Health Care Consumers in Portugal
Global survey of health care consumers
Engaging consumers in managing their health is a key to improving the efficiency and efficacy of the system's performance, now and in the future. The results presented in this study foresee both opportunities for improvement and a need to more clearly communicate with consumers about the way the system is organized and how each citizen can contribute to and benefit from a more consumer-centric approach to care.
Among survey key findings
- Consumers believe that the Portuguese health care system is wasteful, complex, and performs poorly.
- Satisfaction overall is low: 13 percent of consumers are satisfied with the performance of the health care system; 22 percent are not at all satisfied.
- Almost 8 in 10 Portuguese consumers are cautious about spending on health care. 3 in 10 are concerned about future health care costs.
- Consumers are concerned about their ability to meet future health care costs; 43 percent say they spent more on health care products and services than in the prior year.
- Nearly 1 in 4 consumers in Portugal provides care to a family member.
- 4 in 10 consumers rate their physical health as "excellent" or "very good" but half have one or more chronic conditions.
- Use of preventive health care measures that involve traditional medical treatments accessed through providers is high. By contrast, use of alternative preventive health care treatments and participation in wellness programs that depend on individual effort is low.
- Consumers depend on doctors and hospitals for clinical information; they do not widely use online resources for health care.
- Consumers are interested in tools to self-monitor their health; younger adults are interested in using technology such as cell phones and PDAs.
- The use of social media for health care purposes is low; younger adults use it to comment on their health care experiences whereas Seniors and Boomers seek information on prescription drugs.
- Use of personal health records by Portuguese consumers is low; however, they would favor a government-provided electronic health record for use by themselves and their health care providers.
- Privacy and security risks are a concern to Portuguese health care consumers.
- 7 of 10 consumers have a primary care physician and the majority is satisfied with the quality provided; most consumers would value a physician care coordinator to manage their health.
- 3 of 5 hospital users are satisfied with the quality of care they received; consumers chose hospitals based on location and access.
- Consumers visit physicians for preventive health care and for treating illnesses but they are just as likely to visit a walk-in clinic or a hospital emergency room for a minor medical condition.
- Consumers prefer to seek care locally but are willing to travel outside their local areas to receive the best care available.
- 4 in 10 (42 percent) of Portuguese consumers use prescription medications; the majority believes they are safe and effective.
- Interest in alternative health services is low in Portugal.
- Over half of consumers reported they have insurance coverage in addition to the National Health System (NHS); when considering all types of insurance held, most feel they are adequately covered.
- Overall, consumers feel there is substantial room for improvement in the Portuguese health care system.