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"76 Percent Of Consumers Grade Health Care As 'C' Or Below"

A few days ago we learned that, as a group, hospital employees are pretty unhappy. Well, their customers are no happier.

Key Findings from Deloitte LLP's 2010 U.S. Survey of Health Care Consumers:
  • 76 percent of consumers grade the system as “C” or below.
  •  48 percent believe that more than half of health care money is wasted.
  •  Less than a quarter (23 percent) of consumers believes they understand how the health care system works.
  •  42 percent of consumers surveyed support government-required health insurance compared with 38 percent who say they are against it.
  •  However, 42 percent say they would choose an employer-sponsored plan over the government’s (25 percent), all other factors being equal. Among the uninsured, a government-sponsored plan is favored (38 percent vs. 28 percent).
  •  One in three consumers believes that the market needs 10 or more insurance companies competing to ensure consumer choice.
  •  7 out of 8 consumers believe themselves to be in "excellent," "very good" or "good" health yet, more than half (54 percent) have been diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions.
  •  Only one in five (22 percent) participates in a wellness program.
  •  A quarter (24 percent) of consumers remain confident about managing future health care costs, but of the people who skipped care when sick or injured, 4 out of 10 did so due to cost.
  •  More consumers are seeking alternative or natural remedies before seeing a physician (17 percent in 2010 compared with 12 percent in 2009) and more consumers are supplementing their current regimes with alternative remedies (20 percent in 2010 vs. 16 percent in 2009).
  •  One in five consumers rates their interest in accessing their health records by a secure Internet connection as high, would switch physicians to obtain access and would be very likely to use a mobile communication device to maintain them. However, only 10 percent report having a computerized personal health record (PHR).
  •  15 percent of all consumers say they used a retail clinic in the past 12 months.
How can any industry remain optimistic about its future when two-thirds of respondents give it a grade of 'C' or worse?  When three-quarters profess no understanding about the industry's workings and only one-quarter are confident about managing their health care costs?  These are staggeringly bad numbers.

Undoubtedly some in health care will attribute these results to flawed communication.  They may be right, in part.  More likely though, the communicators are doing their best to explain the inexplicable, to simplify the needlessly complicated.  Too bad the odds are stacked against them.

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