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Consumerism

Survey reveals most patients think health system is needlessly complex

Gabriel Perna | July 14, 2020

It’s no secret that health care in America is not the most consumer-friendly industry and a new survey from Change Healthcare reveals that most consumers agree.  

In a survey of nearly 2,000 consumers, 62 percent said the health care system feels like it’s designed to be confusing. More than 60 percent reported their bills feel more complex than a mortgage paymentTwo-thirds said they are asked to manage so many care-related tasks that they “feel like a general contractor” when it comes to addressing their healthcare needs. More than half avoid care because they don’t know what it will cost.  

When half of consumers say they’re avoiding care because the system is too hard to deal with, it has become clear that the effort required to find, access, and pay for care is a social determinant of health,” stated William Krause, vice president of Connected Consumer Health at Change Healthcare. 

The survey asked consumers to rate the ease or difficulty required to find, access, and pay for care across 29 tasks, using an index of 1 to 200, with 200 being the “hardest” effort, 1 being “effortless,” and anything above 100 being “difficult.” Not a single activity was rated as effortless—and the average was 117. 

One potential positive to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is a more consumer-friendly health care system. More than 80 percent believe the pandemic will speed digital adoption and 80 percent say COVID has made telehealth “an indispensable part of the health care system.” 

“This is in fact what their customers—health consumers—this is what they want. In every other area of our economy, people have what they want 24/7 digitally. That trend has accelerated dramatically in health care. This is an opportunity for them to truly become consumer directed,” Livongo CEO Glen Tullman recently told Health Evolution. 

About the Author

Gabriel Perna, Senior Manager, Digital Content

Gabriel Perna is the Senior Manager of Digital Content at Health Evolution. He brings 10+ years of experience in covering the intersection of health care and business. Previously, he was at Chief Executive, Physicians Practice and Healthcare Informatics. You can reach him via email or on Twitter at @GabrielSPerna