PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – February 11, 2016 – As consumers assume a larger share of healthcare costs and responsibility, a new survey reveals where they are having difficulty taking charge of their health and what can help them become more savvy consumers of healthcare. Accolade, an on-demand healthcare concierge for employers, health plans, health systems and employees, commissioned a national Harris Poll survey of 1,536 Americans ages 18+ with health insurance. The findings reveal startling facts about what’s standing in the way of consumer readiness in making the best healthcare decisions, and offer insights on what employers and health plans in particular can do to help them.
Consumers are more comfortable buying a home or a car than they are managing health benefits and care.
Insured Americans simply aren’t comfortable with their personal knowledge and ability to navigate medical benefits and the healthcare system. Nearly one-third (32%) of insured Americans say they are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills navigating their medical benefits and the healthcare system. This is higher than the percentage of those uncomfortable buying a home (25%) and is twice as high as those indicating they were uncomfortable purchasing a car (15%) or technology/electronics (16%).
Consumers find dealing with certain healthcare-related activities to be a hassle. The top consumer concerns across the spectrum of healthcare decision-making include: Having to coordinate all the different aspects of benefits and healthcare (cited by 55%), selecting and understanding benefits (50%), coordinating care across different doctors, specialists and facilities (41%); and using employer-sponsored benefits programs (30%).
The stress of everyday life has a direct impact on health care decision-making, yet health providers often do not consider non-medical issues in care plans.
Respondents also revealed that personal and life circumstances are negatively impacting their healthcare decisions. Consumers cited finances (31%), emotions (26%) and competing responsibilities (19%) as the top life circumstances that have contributed to poor healthcare decision-making.
While 71% of consumers say their physician is their trusted go-to resource, only 16% say their physician is taking the time to better understand their personal/life circumstances, not just their medical issues, when discussing or delivering care. Among those whose physician is not already providing that level of personal support, more than 90% say it would be very or somewhat helpful if their physician would do this.
When it comes to improving the consumer healthcare experience, Americans want more personal, one-to-one support.
A significant 80% of respondents say they would find it valuable to have a single trusted person/resource to help with all of their healthcare needs – such as selecting and using benefits, understanding treatment options, finding providers and coordinating care.
When asked what would most contribute to improving their overall experience as a consumer of healthcare, Americans rank having a single person they trust to help with all of their healthcare needs highest at 47%. Ranking lower were having more programs to help them manage their health, such as wellness tools and condition management programs (24%); having more resources available from their employer to answer benefits questions (20%); and, having more digital/mobile apps to help them make healthcare decisions on their own (13%).
Consumers are underutilizing the various healthcare services and solutions provided by their employers and health plans, and would benefit from a single point of access for all healthcare applications and information.
While 86% of respondents say that their employer or insurer offers health-related programs such as wellness apps, condition management programs, provider cost transparency tools and second opinion services, 43% said they haven’t used them within the past 12 months. Respondents said the reason they don’t use these programs more often is because they are not relevant for them (29%), they don’t remember what’s available (15%), they find them confusing (14%) or they don’t like repeating the same information to different programs (13%).
“The survey underscores that people are not prepared to be the CEO of their own health. They need more help understanding and managing their healthcare process, and aren’t taking full advantage of the various programs and technologies available to them,” said Robert Cavanaugh, president of field operations at Accolade. “By understanding people as individuals with a unique set of financial, medical and life impacts, employers and health plans have a tremendous opportunity to help people become more knowledgeable, confident and empowered to make the best healthcare decisions and achieve and maintain optimal health.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Accolade from September 8-10, 2015 among 2,046 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Accolade Consumer Health Experience Index can be found here.
Over the last five decades, Harris Polls have become media staples. With comprehensive experience and precise technique in public opinion polling, along with a proven track record of uncovering consumers’ motivations and behaviors, The Harris Poll has gained strong brand recognition around the world. The Harris Poll offers a diverse portfolio of proprietary client solutions to transform relevant insights into actionable foresight for a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer packaged goods. Contact us for more information.
Accolade is an on-demand healthcare concierge for employers, health plans, health systems and employees. Accolade’s team of compassionate, exceptional professionals is supported by breakthrough science and technologies to guide people through the healthcare system in a deeply personalized manner. Accolade customers experience industry-leading engagement levels, satisfaction scores unseen in healthcare, better health outcomes, and cost savings of more than 10 percent. Accolade has been recognized as one of the nation’s 25 most promising companies by Forbes magazine, the fastest-growing private healthcare company by Inc. 500 and a Top Workplace in Philadelphia for five consecutive years. For more information, visit www.accolade.com.