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Intuit Health Survey: Americans Worried About Costs
added: 2011-03-03

Every day, Americans use online tools to gather information, pay bills, communicate with friends, and conduct business. Intuit Health’s second annual Health Care Check-Up Survey shows that they want and expect that same connectivity and convenience from their doctor’s office.

Seventy-three percent of Americans surveyed would use a secure online communication solution to make it easier to get lab results, request appointments, pay medical bills, and communicate with their doctor’s office. The convenience of anytime, anywhere access is so important that almost half would consider switching doctors for a practice that offered the ability to communicate and complete important health care tasks online.

The survey also found that rising costs continue to be a major concern for people.

- 70 percent said they are somewhat or very concerned about managing their health care bills, the same percentage as last year.

- 62 percent said their health care costs increased in 2010.

- Two-thirds believe their health care costs will increase in the future.

- Baby Boomers were most concerned with rising costs: 66 percent said their costs have increased and 72 percent are most concerned with rising costs in the future. Compared to 59 percent of Gen Y and Gen X respondents who said their health care costs have increased, and 62 percent who were concerned with rising costs in the future.

“Patient anxiety is rising. They want some measure of control, convenience and better communication with their doctor,” said Steve Malik, president and general manager of Intuit Health. “Doctors who offer secure online solutions can meet this patient demand while increasing office efficiency and enhancing the doctor-patient relationship. In addition, online solutions, like a patient portal, have proven to improve staff and patient satisfaction levels, while positively impacting the physician’s bottom line by reducing patient no-shows and increasing the speed at which payments are received.”

The survey confirmed that increasing consumer utilization and comfort with online solutions is extending to health care.

- The ability to easily connect with their doctor remains an issue for patients. Nearly 20 percent of Americans feel they cannot easily reach their doctor’s office to ask questions, make appointments or obtain lab results.

- Americans want more efficient visits with their physicians. Eighty-one percent would schedule their own appointment via a secure Web service and fill out medical/registration forms online prior to their appointment.

- Patients want easy, secure access to their information. Seventy-eight percent of respondents would use a secure online method to access their medical histories and share information with their doctor.

- Younger patients prefer online. Fifty-nine percent of Gen Y respondents said they would switch doctors for one with better online access compared to only 29 percent of Baby Boomers.

The survey also provided insight into patients’ perspectives on medical bills and payment methods.

- Many question the accuracy of medical bills. Forty-one percent of consumers do not have confidence that the billed amount is correct.

- One in five is unsure whether to pay their doctor or the insurance company; Gen Y respondents were most unsure whom to pay – 28 percent versus 8 percent of Baby Boomers.

- Accounts receivable can become bad debt. Fifty-seven percent have had at least one medical bill go to a collection agency. Women are twice as likely as men to let a medical bill go past due.

- Medical bill payments are stuck in the past. Forty-five percent of patients wait more than a month to pay their doctor bill, and when they pay, half still send a paper check in the mail.

Source: Business Wire

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