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Research: Patients, Healthcare Professionals Disconnected on Key Healthcare Issues

August 16, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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New research released from Xerox shows large disconnects between patients and the healthcare professionals providing and insuring their care.

This research was conducted by Y&R’s BAV Consulting on behalf of Xerox and surveyed 761 U.S. adults who purchase health insurance and are healthcare decision makers for their households, as well as 204 healthcare payers and providers.

The findings suggest that across all participants in the U.S. healthcare system, there is still much to be settled regarding the transformation driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For one, nearly 50 percent of consumers say they take complete responsibility for their health, whereas less than 6 percent of healthcare professionals believe this to be true. In addition, less than 5 percent of consumers say they don’t know how to take charge of their own healthcare, but nearly 40 percent of payers and providers say consumers don’t know how to take charge. 

Further, 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 say they need such encouragement. “Consumers and healthcare professionals have very different views on patient empowerment and control,” Rohan Kulkarni, vice president of strategy and portfolio, Xerox Healthcare Business Group, said in a statement. “Payers and providers are much less likely to believe patients are taking responsibility for their health than what patients perceive to be true. The results suggest that improved communication could allow healthcare professionals to better showcase to their patients how they’re a partner in their health.”

What’s more, the research also found discrepancies between patients and professionals regarding a patient’s willingness to shop for healthcare. Only 34 percent of consumers are more likely to shop around for a provider than they were one year ago, but more than 71 percent of payers and providers think patients are shopping. When asked what consumers consider the top priority when selecting a provider, consumers said “quality of care” is first. But payers and providers believe whether or not they take the patient’s insurance plan is the top consideration. And, 95 percent of payers and providers believe patients are not seeking or delaying treatment due to cost concerns, but only 42 percent of consumers say this is true.

Further, more than 63 percent of consumers wish their pharmacist, healthcare provider and insurance company were more connected on their personal health. “A lot of payers and providers think patients are shopping around for the best healthcare, but it simply is not the case,” added Kulkarni. “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.”

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