Greater access to medical information online is among the services in high demand. Nearly 80 percent of health care consumers are interested in having their physicians provide online access to medical records and test results; as many as one-fourth (26 percent) are willing to pay extra for these additional services.
More than 93 percent of consumers surveyed say they are not well prepared for future health care costs, making sensitivity to the cost for care increasingly important. Consumers are interested in using online tools to shop around to compare prices and the quality of care provided by their health care providers. They are interested in visiting physician (65 percent) and hospital (62 percent) Web sites to research the price of services offered. Consumers surveyed are also interested in visiting physician (67 percent) and hospital (64 percent) Web sites to research the quality of care offered.
The “2008 Survey of Health Care Consumers,” a representative poll of more than 3,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 75, was conducted by the
Today’s health care consumers are already seeking care in non-conventional settings. In the last 24 months, 21 percent have purchased prescription medication online or by mail; 37 percent say they might do so in the future. Sixteen percent have already used a retail clinic, and 34 percent say they might do so in the future.
Among other survey’s findings:
- 3 out of 4 of consumers want their physicians to provide online access to an integrated medical record; 1 in 4 would pay more for this service
- More than 70 percent of consumers want their hospitals to provide online access to their medical record and test results; 1 in 4 would pay more for this service
- 1 in 4 consumers say they maintain some kind of personal health record; 46 percent would be willing to use a software program or Web site to create a personal health record
- 83 percent of consumers are interested in same-day appointments with their physicians; 1 in 4 (26 percent) would pay more for this service
- Nearly 3 out of 4 want physicians to provide online services to schedule appointments; 18 percent would pay more for this service
- 3 out of 4 of consumers are interested in e-mail access to their doctors; nearly 1 in 4 would pay more for this service
- 88 percent of consumers want expanded use of in-home monitoring devices and online tools that would reduce the need for visits and allow individuals to be more active in their care
In addition, the survey revealed the consumer health care market is not homogenous; key distinctions exist within different groups. An analysis of the data found that respondents fell into six discrete segments: