Survey: Consumers and providers narrowing gap on healthcare outlooks

Consumers and providers have not always seen eye-to-eye on matters of healthcare, and while the gulf is narrowing, there are still gaps to overcome, according to a survey from consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs. The survey found that one-third of consumers and administrators “think that the healthcare system is on the right […]

Consumers and providers have not always seen eye-to-eye on matters of healthcare, and while the gulf is narrowing, there are still gaps to overcome, according to a survey from consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs.

The survey found that one-third of consumers and administrators “think that the healthcare system is on the right track, while just one-quarter of primary care physicians (24 percent) and one in 10 specialists share that view.”

Another two-thirds, or 67 percent, of providers are “satisfied with their current practice,” but fewer think their organization is “well-positioned” amid the changing landscape. Specifically, providers feel “least prepared to participate in risk-sharing arrangements,” the survey found.

There is little dispute that providers need to focus on controlling costs, but disagreement persists on how to address the matter, according to the survey. Unsurprisingly, a majority of specialists, at 68 percent, cite tort reform, while primary care physicians tilted toward preventive medicine, at 61 percent. Administrators overwhelmingly agreed with primary care physicians, at 76 percent.

Yet administrators support “emerging practices” at a far greater clip than physicians themselves, including the use of technology, at 66 percent, telemedicine, at 55 percent, ACOs, at 57 percent, and patient-centered medical homes, at 56 percent, according to the survey.

When it comes to consumers, two in five, or 39 percent, who have used a mobile app to manage their health in the past six months say their healthcare provider recommended it, suggesting that physicians are getting on board with apps.

But while  seven in 10 consumers own a smart phone or tablet, only 22 percent use their devices to manage their healthcare or insurance. Exercise monitoring apps are the most commonly used by consumers who have recently used a mobile app to manage their health, at 59 percent, while smoking cessation apps, at 20 percent, are least likely to be used.

For the consumer survey, responses for a sample of 1,000 adults were collected online. The data were weighted according to U.S. Census population statistics. The 400 respondents surveyed for the provider survey included 100 primary care providers, 200 specialists, and 100 administrators working in and out of hospital settings. Total providers were weighted to reflect the current balance of primary care versus specialist physicians practicing in the U.S., according to Booz Allen Hamilton.