Press release

4 Jun 2019 New York, US

US consumers and physicians are clear: convenience must be the foundation of any health strategy, EY survey finds

The US health sector appears to be at the edge of digital reinvention, according to the 2019 US NextWave Health Survey released by EY today.

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Lizzie McWilliams

EY US Public Relations Associate Director

Strategic communicator and adviser.

Related topics Health Strategy
  • Compared with other countries, the US health care system has a greater number of detractors: 41% of US consumers and 34% of US physicians rate the overall performance of the US health care system as “below average.”
  • The majority of US consumers are willing to share health-related data with physicians (82%), while this number drops for other ecosystem stakeholders: 44% for payers, 18% for employers and 10% for online retailers.
  • Affordability of care is a key issue to consumers and physicians, with 69% and 61%, respectively, indicating that affordability to care was below average in the US.

The US health sector appears to be at the edge of digital reinvention, according to the 2019 US NextWave Health Survey released by EY today. Driven by pressures to improve outcomes and reduce costs through the introduction of new technologies that take advantage of ubiquitous connectivity, the survey of 2,428 US consumers and 158 physicians found that both groups are keen to embrace new technologies that improve engagement.

Most physicians surveyed (68%) believe they are prepared to provide quality care in the midst of a changing industry. Many are using available health technologies, such as secure messaging (62%), patient portals (60%) and clinical decision support (44%). As physicians continue to expand their digital investments, they must take into account the largest motivators for consumer adoption: increased cost savings (59%) and reduced wait times (52%).

Consumers are also interested in technologies that will help them manage their health and engage with physicians. Sixty-eight percent of surveyed consumers want to make an appointment online, and 54% would like to communicate electronically with their doctor. Interestingly, when asked whether they currently use these technologies, consumer responses were relatively low. Thirty-one percent indicate that they currently make appointments online, 26% complete registration forms online, while 30% paid for health care expenses online. This disconnect between the desire for particular forms of engagement and actual use indicates that consumers are keen to be supported by the tools that provide a convenient, holistic user experience.

“It’s clear from our survey that US consumers and physicians value convenience and aren’t engaging with the piecemeal technology that has been implemented across the health ecosystem,” said Carole Faig, EY US Health Leader. “What’s needed is a truly integrated consumer experience.”

When asked about the overall performance of the US health system, consumers are generally divided. Thirty-nine percent view the overall performance as positive, while 41% view the performance as poor. Results also show younger generations (49%) are more critical toward their health and the health system than older consumers (28%). Interestingly, the US health care system has more detractors when compared with the previously released NextWave results from England, the Netherlands and Australia. According to Faig, the fact that the US report reveals such a difference is likely driven by perceived affordability issues within the system. This is supported by the survey data: the cost of premiums ranks as the single most important factor when selecting an insurance plan (40%) for US consumers.

US consumers are increasingly open to sharing their medical data with physicians (82%). Although privacy remains a concern, many view health-related technology as attractive solutions for improving health and wellness (42%) and accessibility to comprehensive, individual health information (39%). However, there are limits to the types of data and to whom consumers will share their data. While consumers are generally open about sharing data with physicians, they are more hesitant about sharing information with payers (44%), employers (18%) and online retailers (10%).

About the 2019 US NextWave Health Survey

To better understand the next wave of health in the US, EY has conducted a survey of consumers and physicians to gain insights on their attitudes and perceptions about digital health technologies in the health sector.

The consumer portion of this survey was conducted online, by EY Sweeney on behalf of EY, between 13 February and 8 March 2019. A total of 2,428 US consumers aged 18 and older were interviewed nationwide. Data was weighted by age, gender and region so that results are representative of the views of the US population, with a statistical margin of error of ±2% (at a 95% confidence level).

A total of 158 health physicians based in the United States were also surveyed via online survey, generating a margin of error of ±7.8% (at a 95% confidence level).

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation is available via ey.com/privacy. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member of the global EY organization that provides services to clients in the US.

About EY Health Sciences & Wellness

The rise of the empowered consumer, coupled with technology advancements and the emergence of digitally focused entrants, is changing every aspect of health and care delivery. To retain relevancy in today’s digitally focused, data-infused ecosystem, all participants in health care today must rethink their business practices, including capital strategy, partnering and the creation of patient-centric operating models.

The EY Health Sciences and Wellness architecture brings together a worldwide network of more than 20,000 professionals to build data-centric approaches to customer engagement and improved outcomes. We help our clients deliver on their strategic goals; design optimized operating models; and form the right partnerships so they may thrive today and succeed in the health systems of tomorrow. We work across the ecosystem to understand the implications of today’s trends, proactively finding solutions to business issues and to seize the upside of disruption in this transformative age.

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