Physician involvement can determine how much patients actually get out services provided
A majority of people in the U.S. (70%) said they want health systems to be more actively involved with their health management activies, according to the 2022 State of the Healthcare Consumer Report from Kaufman Hall.
People are interested in support for healthy eating (41%), paying for exercise equipment or programs (40%), or providing telehealth visits to discuss symptoms (39%). Overall, 34% of those surveyed manage their diet and nutrition (34%), wear fitness trackers (31%), engage in physical health activities (29%), receive mental health services (22%), practice self-care activities (18%), use at-home diagnostics (12%), and use alternative therapies (12%).
The health management activities that consumers engage is are not always integrated into a medical visit. While 59% of consumers that use mental health services do so under a physician’s supervision, only 43% of consumers that use a wearable device do so under a doctor’s supervision.
“As people adopt behaviors that make them more mindful of their health and wellbeing, they are increasingly interested in integrating those activities with their health care experience,” said Dan Clarin, a managing director at Kaufman Hall and the report’s lead author, in a statement. “Unfortunately, the health management activities consumers engage in are often disconnected from their clinical care. By listening to their consumers and integrating their insights, health systems have an opportunity to better meet evolving consumer needs.”
The report notes that the narrowing of access to health care services complicates things. Nearly four in 10 people who receive health insurance through their employer have access to one plan (38%), or two plans (33%). Fewer insurance choices mean fewer affordable options for consumers and clinicians to design the type of health care experience patients may want, with services covered by the plan.
Those in commercial insurance plans reported participating in eight health management activities on average, while people with Medicaid reported engaging in six health management activities.
“Today’s insured consumers often have fewer options for health plans, which can translate into less choice for the services they are looking for,” Clarin said. “At the same time, persistent health care disparities are posing major public health challenges. Health systems must be able to both elevate the voice of the consumer throughout their organizations and play a leading role of lifting the health of the communities they serve.”
Report authors say the health care industry will be increasingly challenged to identify and meet evolving consumer demands for personalized health management, and that incorporating the voice of the consumer will not be easy or quick. Adopting consumer-centric principles to care delivery, and building respectful, sustainable relationships with the patients they serve, will be imperative for health systems moving forward.
Kaufman Hall surveyed approximately 3,500 health care consumers for the report.