What is the current state of healthcare in America? Is it getting better, staying the same, or becoming worse? We teamed with Ipsos Public Affairs to answer these questions by examining the views of healthcare consumers and providers. We looked at their views on satisfaction with healthcare, the role of prevention, use of technology, and their outlook on the future.
Published Annually by Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs
“How We View Healthcare in America” is an annual report published by Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs that examines how consumers who use healthcare services and the primary care physicians (PCPs), specialists, and hospital and health system administrators who provide those services think and feel about the current state of healthcare and its future. Topics examined in this year’s report were culled from the 2014 inaugural study to focus on consumer and provider views about:
- Current health and healthcare coverage of consumers
- Importance of, satisfaction with, and concerns about factors related to healthcare
- Impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Means of addressing rising healthcare costs
- Impacts of preventive interventions on public health
- Provider practices/organizations (comparisons and current/forward-looking views)
- Integration and use of health-related technologies by consumers and providers
The report identifies the beginnings of trends by comparing this year’s data with last year’s data, and also presents new observations as a baseline for future analysis. The research provides parallel perceptions of the healthcare system, examining the views of consumers and healthcare providers about their own experiences, as well as how they perceive others to have experienced the healthcare system.
Some elements of the report have been refined this year based on the types of data found to be most valuable in the first report and to better focus survey responses and fine-tune datasets for future comparison. Toward that end, changes were made to the phrasing of some survey questions on which report findings are based. It is unknown if, or to what extent, those refinements may have affected responses.
For the consumer survey, online surveys were conducted among a national sample of 1,003 U.S.-based adults, 18 years of age and older. Employing the Bayesian credibility interval for online polls that utilizes non-probability samples (see https://ipsos-na.com/dl/pdf/research/public-affairs/IpsosPA_CredibilityIntervals.pdf), this consumer survey has a 95 percent credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points. The data were weighted according to U.S. Census population statistics by gender, age, region, and household income.
For providers, 401 completed online surveys, including 100 group-based 1 PCPs, 101 group-based specialists, 100 physicians currently seeing most patients in a hospital setting, and 100 health system and hospital administrators. The data from physicians were weighted to reflect the current balance of primary care versus specialist physicians practicing in the U.S. healthcare system.
Hospital-based physicians included 32 physicians who identified themselves as PCPs and 68 self-identified as specialists. As a result, the base size for PCPs is 132 and for specialists is 169.
The goal of any healthcare system is to provide consumers with access to top-quality care at reasonable costs. To evaluate how well that is happening in the U.S., this report assesses the current state of and outlook for healthcare by examining the views of healthcare consumers and providers – PCPs, specialists, and administrators working in and out of hospital settings. This year’s report examines three main topics identified in last year’s study and additionally refined for this year’s report: levels of satisfaction with healthcare and outlook for the future, the role of prevention, and use of technology.
Providing consumers with access to top-quality care at reasonable cost may be the overarching goal of the U.S. healthcare system, but the primary care physicians, specialists, and administrators involved in making that a reality see the future differently and often have their own priorities to address within that larger context.
Consumers want the ability to see doctors they choose in a timely manner; receive medications, diagnostic testing, and preventive interventions they need; and maintain the privacy and security of their personal health information – all at reasonable cost and with reasonable amounts of paperwork. Physicians want to deliver high-quality, holistic care to their patients in cooperation with other medical professionals, as needed, but while maintaining autonomy and growing a thriving practice or advancing within a larger medical organization. Administrators want to satisfy consumers and physicians, but are also tasked with finding new and innovative ways of reducing costs – a key component to their own advancement within their organizations.
Balancing these competing objectives and interests is an ongoing challenge. We will revisit the topics in the report – as well as emerging issues and perceptions among consumers and providers – in future studies. Improving healthcare, reducing costs, and doing both with expanded focus on prevention and the role of technology will continue to be among key healthcare priorities for many years. We will study and report on the evolving views of consumers and providers to understand the challenges and opportunities all of us face with our healthcare system.
It will be important, for instance, to follow the ongoing development and expansion of care coordination, its impact on consumer satisfaction, and how physicians of different ages and within different types of organizations adapt to and adopt this trending approach to care.
How will care coordination affect the growing gaps between physicians and administrators, and those participating in new models of care such as PCMHs? Future studies will continue to monitor consumer satisfaction with different types of healthcare coverage, as well as the degree to which consumers move between types of coverage seeking the best mix of costs and care. The range of current and emerging preventive interventions also will be tracked – which ones will be accepted most fully and make the greatest impact on cost and quality of care? How will technology and expanded investments by organizations improve healthcare’s bottom line, improve delivery of services, and keep consumers healthier and feeling secure about their personal privacy?
As healthcare advances and evolves, we will continue to monitor the ways that consumers and providers think and feel about it.
Read full report.