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New Research Finds Health Care Remains a Key Concern for Americans

Consumers increasingly turning to health websites for information

EVANSTON, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr 18, 2012 - Economy/jobs still top the list of issues of greatest importance to Americans, but concern over health care ranks number two, followed by taxes, education, terrorism and energy. This is according to new Health Care 2012 research released by Krames StayWell in collaboration with Klein & Partners, providing an evaluation of consumer opinions and attitudes on a wide range of health care issues.

According to the research, to address their concerns, more than half of Americans (58 percent) said that besides their physician, they turn to consumer health websites for health information. Learning about a specific medical condition or researching symptoms is the most common information people seek; however, people also go online to refill prescriptions, check lab results, schedule an appointment and pay their bill. In addition, most consumers (83 percent) surveyed said they would like to be able to access their medical record online.

“The health care landscape continues to evolve and the trend toward consumers becoming more active participants in managing their care is growing,” said Trent Sterling, president, Krames StayWell. “This research aids us in understanding peoples' health care issues, preferences, habits and factors that influence their choices. Given that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with accessing and seeking health information, there is a real opportunity for health care organizations to provide information and serve as a trusted partner.”

Key survey findings:

 

  • In 2011, more than half of Americans said they visited a health plan website and nearly one in three people said they visited a hospital site.
  • The use of smart phones and text messaging for health information is on the rise as the percentage of people using their smart phone to seek information on health symptoms more than doubled in the past year, from nine to 23 percent. Sixty-four percent said they would like information about a specific condition via text message and nearly all (91 percent) said they would like to receive appointment reminders.
  • People are looking for topics on wellness and prevention as nearly half (46 percent) recently read about health and wellness; and 43 percent accessed information about preventive health.
  • Nearly half (42 percent) of people prefer to receive preventive care appointment reminders via email; however, preference for text messages providing reminders doubled in the past year, from eight to 16 percent. While the use of technology is growing, the research also indicates that more traditional forms of communication such as direct mail and print newsletters are still a valued resource for consumers.

“As a result of health reform, it's become increasingly important for health plans to ensure they are effectively communicating with and engaging consumers,” said Rob Klein, president, Klein & Partners. “While traditionally these organizations have primarily communicated to employers, they now need to take a direct-to-consumer approach.”

Survey methodology

The quantitative online survey of 400 consumers 21 years of age or older who are responsible for health care decisions for their households was conducted by Klein & Partners, a full-service market research firm focused solely in the health care environment. Interviews were conducted in October and November 2011. This is the third year of the survey, with Krames StayWell participating the last two years.

About Krames StayWell

Krames StayWell is the largest provider of patient education, consumer health information, and population health management communications in the country. Combining extensive technology and content assets with vast consumer insights and a strategic approach, Krames StayWell is uniquely qualified to engage consumers across the entire spectrum of their health care experience. Our best-in-class health communication solutions integrate print, interactive, and mobile formats at multiple touch points to attract and retain consumers, improve health outcomes, and lower costs. We deliver measurable results for hospital, healthcare professional, health plan, employer, retail pharmacy, government, and association clients with world-class design, commitment to health literacy principles, and a focus on custom development. For more information, please visit www.kramesstaywell.com.

Note to editors: A copy of the research findings is available to accredited media upon request.

Contact: Krames StayWell
Cary Conway, 972-731-9242
cary@conwaycommunication.com

 

Posted: April 2012

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