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Study assesses health care views of consumers, providers

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McLEAN, Va. — A new survey finds that consumers and heath care providers share strong opinions — as well as hold impressive differences — on the future of health care.

Booz Allen Hamilton and Ipsos Public Affairs discovered the perspectives in a study titled “How We View Health Care in America: Consumer and Provider ­Perspectives.”

“This study was initiated to shed light on a basic issue: how consumers and providers perceive the future of health care,” says Grant McLaughlin, vice president at Booz Allen.

Booz Allen and Ipsos Public Affairs fielded a survey in August 2014 to 1,000 consumers and 400 primary care providers, specialists and administrators.

“What we found illustrates that both common ground and major gaps exist, calling for further examination,” McLaughlin adds. “We’ll conduct the survey annually to stay abreast of these trends.”

Cost of health care is the No. 1 concern among consumers and providers alike, and both groups question whether the Affordable Care Act will have an overall positive impact on health care. Eight in 10 providers believe that health insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms are very or extremely responsible for rising health care costs, and most consumers fear that access to the doctor of their choice is in jeopardy.

According to the survey findings, only one-third of consumers (33%) and administrators (34%) think that the health care system is on the right track, while just one-quarter of primary care physicians (24%) and one in 10 specialists (10%) share that view.

Two-thirds of providers (67%) are satisfied with their current practice, although fewer (61%) believe that their organization is well positioned to succeed in a changing health care environment. They feel least prepared to participate in risk-sharing ­arrangements.

The analysis showed that all of the health care provider groups agree that controlling and reducing costs is essential, but they disagree on how to accomplish that goal: More specialists (68%) cite tort reform, while prevention is seen as most promising for primary care doctors (61%) and ­administrators (76%).

Although administrators are top advocates of prevention, they also embrace many emerging practices in which physicians place little confidence. These include technology (66%), telemedicine (55%), accountable care organizations (57%) and patient-centered medical homes (56%).

Two in five consumers (39%) who have used a mobile app to manage their health in the past six months say that it was their health care provider who recommended these apps for them. While seven in 10 consumers (71%) own a smartphone or tablet, only 22% of them use their devices to manage their health care or ­insurance.

Nearly three-quarters of consumers believe it is very or extremely important generally for the health care system to increase its focus on prevention — yet it ranks only sixth on their list of most important health care priorities.


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