CVS study shows patients want choice post-pandemic

The survey found that people are seeking more personalized, customizable, and accessible care.

Patients are emerging from their COVID-19 pandemic quarantines seeking new avenues for healthcare that offer a more personalized, customizable, and accessible experience.

According to a news release, the 2021 Health Care Insights Study from CVS Health fielded survey responses from 1,000 patients and 400 practices and found that patients have used the past year to work on their health goals and reexamine their priorities. About 77 percent of respondents reported the pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their general health and 50 percent say that COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders helped them to achieve their health goals.

The top factors influencing patient health decisions are still insurance coverage, with 55 percent, and location of care, with 43 percent. There is also a growing number of people who are exploring new avenues with patients starting to move away from primary care practices (PCPs) for primary care with 56 percent reporting preferring PCPs, down from 62 percent in 2020, while use of alternatives like online resources, community health centers, and local pharmacies all grew in preference, according to the release.

“Over the past year and a half, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer health care preferences and needs,” CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch, says in the release. “These shifts toward personalized care have the potential to impact our health care system well past the pandemic, with many people taking a more engaged approach to their own health. Going forward, we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and continue to foster an integrated health model that is centered around the needs of the individual.”

Other key findings of the study include:

  • 57 percent of patients reported having used virtual care for a healthcare visit while nearly three-quarters of practices report having access to virtual visits and telehealth would be very or somewhat valuable to their patients.
  • Women are more likely to seek health information from nurse practitioners and for their PCPs to know of their lifestyle choices. Women are also more likely to communicate with the PCP through an annual checkup.
  • 61 percent of patients say their physicians have not asked about affordability of healthcare with 25 percent say they have no familiarity with their out-of-pocket they pay for medical care and 23 percent say they don’t know where to look in their health plan to better understand these costs.

The full study can be found here.