- Access to care, cost-effectiveness and relief from pain and anxiety are valued most by consumer respondents
- 71% of respondents prefer in-person to virtual consultations when it comes to overall quality
- Three in four surveyed consumers are willing to share their medical information, but transparency on data protection and usage is paramount
The EY Global Consumer Health Survey 2023, released today, finds that access to care is valued most highly by consumers. However, while consumers put such strong emphasis on access when it comes to value, nearly half (42%) rate their access to care experience as below average.
The study – which surveyed more than 6,000 consumers across the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, England and Germany – found that to give consumers the access and experience they value most, health executives should focus on removing barriers and delivering the hassle-free care models that consumers want. The high value that consumers place on cost-effectiveness and relief from pain and anxiety should also be prioritized in efforts to improve health care systems globally.
Aloha McBride, EY Global Health Leader, says:
“Looking at value through the lens of providers and payers seems to leave the consumer – the most important participant in health care – out of the value equation. To drive better outcomes in patient-centered health systems, organizations should consider paying closer attention to personal preferences and what matters most to consumers regarding their health and care through three different lenses of people, process, and place.”
Health system performance is well-regarded overall, but there is room for improvement
A large proportion of surveyed consumers across the 6 geographies view their health care systems positively, with nearly half (49%) rating the overall performance of their health system as above average. Across all countries, the introduction of the latest medical treatments and innovations (48%), the optimization of the overall health experience regardless of race, location or personal circumstance (46%), and ease of using healthcare services (44%), were rated as strong features of health systems.
In-person consultations viewed as superior to virtual care
The survey reveals that despite advancing virtual capabilities across the globe, face-to-face consultations are viewed more positively than virtual by a majority of respondents (71%) when it comes to overall quality of the visit. They also perceive in-person more positively when it comes to the ability to exhibit the health condition to professionals in person (84%) and developing better personal connections with their clinicians (77%). However, virtual consultations do have a role to play, with respondents considering this method of care for prescription renewals (67%), discussing test results (61%) and to save time (57%). These findings suggest an opportunity for health organizations to examine what consumers value in the virtual care experience, when they value it and why. The results also suggest that virtual experience should be refined by health systems to cater to consumer segments.
Transparency on data protection and usage is paramount
Across the six markets, 3 in 4 surveyed consumers would agree to have their electronic health information shared automatically with the various facilities they receive medical care. However, 79% of respondents made clear that they want to know upfront how that personal health information will be protected and used. The survey found that consumer respondents are keen to share information that they believe could be beneficial for their health, such as biometric data, lifestyle choices and nutrition/dietary information.
How consumers view the future of health
While surveyed consumers indicated that they were broadly open to data-sharing, they were more hesitant about products that could be perceived as too futurist for now. About 2 in 3 are prepared to monitor and improve their health across a range of new technologies such as genetics-based testing (68%), and 60% are prepared to be treated through a hospital-in-the-home program. On the other hand, 31% are not prepared to use high-tech products to treat health conditions, such as smart pills that travel in the blood and submit messages to the consumer’s phone.
McBride says: “As the care delivery model shifts toward the home, powered by wearables and informed by patient data, consumers should be brought along, step by step, so they can develop comfort with diverse health care settings and care models. The survey finds that 60%-67% of individuals believe that remote monitoring and delivery of patient care will become a reality in the next ten years, so health systems should start educating them on how these technologies can help keep consumers healthier at home longer and provide better value for the system and the consumer.”
The full survey report is available at ey.com/ConsumerHealthSurvey23.
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About the survey
From January to March 2023, the EY organization surveyed 6,021 consumers across six countries – the US, Australia, Canada, Ireland, England, and Germany – to better understand what they value in health care. More than 80% of participants in the survey had contact with the health care system in the previous 12 months. The survey data was weighted by age, gender, and region to be representative of the population aged 18 and over within each country based on the latest census data available.