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Many U.S. Consumers Want Major Changes in Health Care Design, Delivery

Findings from a groundbreaking Deloitte survey have implications for providers, health plans, life science companies, policy


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A survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte LLP, finds that many American consumers want more from their health care system than they’re currently getting – including greater online connection to health care providers and medical records, customized insurance coverage and wider access to emerging innovations such as retail clinics.

At the same time, consumers express anxiety about future health care costs and increasingly search for alternative medicines and services that can save them money and offer convenience. But many also say they are willing to pay extra for wellness programs, and to support or consider tax increases to cover the uninsured.

Deloitte’s "2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers," an online poll of more than 3,000 Americans ages 18-75, provides an important and timely perspective on health care consumerism. The survey assesses consumers’ behaviors, attitudes, and unmet needs related to health, health care and health insurance. It also points to six discrete segments of the overall consumer market, providing a profile of their key characteristics and differences. Each segment presents opportunities and risks for health care industry stakeholders.

Zones of Health Care Consumer Activity

The survey data provides valuable insights into ways health care providers, health plans, life science companies, policy makers and employers can work to close the gaps that exist between what consumers want and what they are currently getting.

Among the survey's key findings:

  • 79 percent of consumers believe health care will be an important issue in the 2008 election; 46 percent described it as one of the top three issues that will affect their vote.
  • 34 percent say they would use a retail clinic; 16 percent already have.
  • 60 percent want physicians to provide online access to medical records and test results, and online appointment scheduling; 1 in 4 say they would pay more for the service.
  • 1 in 3 consumers say they want more holistic/alternative therapies in their treatment program.
  • 3 in 4 consumers want expanded use of in-home monitoring devices and online tools that would reduce need for visits and allow individuals to be more active in their care.
  • 66 percent strongly favor or lean toward state-mandated health insurance.
  • 84 percent prefer generics to name-brand drugs.
  • 29 percent support a tax increase to help cover the uninsured; another 37 percent say they would consider a tax hike.
  • Only 52 percent of consumers say they understand their insurance coverage.
  • 1 in 4 consumers maintain a personal health record.
  • For additional statistics, visit the survey's Fact Sheet Library.

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