Entries in Consumers (65)

Friday
Feb092018

Employees Feel Their Own Health Plan is Better Than Most Others

Employees Feel Their Own Health Plan is Better Than Most Others
 

By Clive Riddle, February 9, 2018

Surveys have consistently shown over the years that the public generally ranks Congress low in esteem, but their personal Congressman is held in higher regard. Health Plans, like Congress, have been a favorite target as well, but similarly – people tend to like their personal coverage more than how they view health plans overall.

AHIP has just released a 42-page report of findings from their national survey “The Value of Employer Provided Coverage” that not only reinforces this phenomenon – in which respondents rank their own plan higher than their overall view how health care is covered, but also makes the case that consumers place employer provided coverage in higher regard than the nation’s health coverage system as a whole. On top of that, there is perhaps less angst about the nation’s health insurance system overall than one might have thought.

63% were satisfied with the nation's current health insurance system, and 31% were dissatisfied. 71% were satisfied with their own health plan, and 19% were dissatisfied. 60% felt their personal cost was reasonable and 29% felt the cost was unreasonable, while 66% felt the cost was unreasonable for Americans as a whole. 52% described their deductible as reasonable, while 36% said it was unreasonable. However, for those dissatisfied with their plans, 82% cited costs as the main reason.

72% say they are adequately informed about health insurance benefits under their plan, yet only 20% understand that employers average paying above 75% of the total costs.

In other findings from the survey:

·         71% remain concerned the cost of health care will continue to rise

·         56% prioritize comprehensive benefits while 41% prioritize affordability of plans.

·         46%said health insurance was a deciding factor in choosing their current job

·         56% support keeping employer provided coverage tax free, and 13% oppose

·         58% prefer increased market competition while 42% support increased government involvement to address costs

·         Prescription drug coverage (51%), preventive care (47%), and emergency care (47%) rank among the benefits that matter most.

 
Friday
Jan122018

Accenture’s Advice to Pharma: It’s The Evidence, Stupid.

Accenture’s Advice to Pharma: It’s The Evidence, Stupid.
 

By Clive Riddle, January 12, 2018

 

Remember when Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign mantra was “it’s the economy, stupid”?  Accenture advises the pharmaceutical industry to substitute evidence for economy in that equation and focus more on evidence-based solutions than products or brand.

 

Accenture has just released 16-page report: Product Launch: The Patient Has Spoken in which they conclude “brands are not major influencing factors when patients consider new pharmaceutical products. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of patients surveyed said the product’s benefits – i.e., treatment outcomes – are more important than the brand itself, with less than one-third (31 percent) citing a strong affinity to brands in a healthcare setting.”

 

Accenture tells us that for the report, they commissioned a survey of 8,000 patients in France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S across eight therapeutic areas – immunology, cardiology, pulmonology, neurology, oncology, rheumatology, endocrinology and eye disease. Respondents represented three main age demographics: baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials.

 

Accenture shared the following findings:

 

When patients were asked which factors influence their healthcare product and treatment decisions:

·         66% cited the doctor/physician relationship

·         55% indicated the ability to maintain their current lifestyle

·         53% said ease of access to the care they’ll need

·         But just 31% listed brand loyalty or popularity, and this ranked twelfth out of 14 influencing factors

 

The report notes that patient perspectives include:

·         38 % said they feel very knowledgeable about new or existing products coming to market for their condition

·         25 % reported having either very limited or no knowledge of new products that might be suitable for them

·         48 % believe that their doctors discuss the full range of product options with them

·         44 % feel that they have significant input into their treatment selection

·         63 % said they want to be involved in such decisions

·         47% said they’ve thought about switching their treatment at some point

·         62%of those who think about switching end up doing so

 

So if it isn’t product and brand, what does drive patient treatment choice decisions? Accenture says “despite survey results showing that many patients look online for information about new treatments, physicians remain the primary influencer of their treatment choices. In fact, the reason patients cited most often for switching treatments was a recommendation from their physician (cited by 81 percent of patients who switched treatments), followed by proven benefits compared to current treatment (79 percent) and fewer side-effects than their current treatment (78 percent).”

 

Regarding demographics, the survey “findings also identified differences in attitude and behavior by age group, with younger patients more likely than older ones to understand which treatments are available—and switch treatments when they believe there’s something better. For instance, while physician recommendation was the most-cited reason across all age groups for switching treatment, Millennials are almost twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be influenced by people posting alternative treatment options on social media.”

 

Of course what the report doesn’t focus on regarding treatment decisions is the role of insurance coverage, cost-sharing and formularies. But Accenture’s message in this value based era should still resonate. Accenture’s Jim Cleffi, a co-author of the report, tells us “given the significant budgets pharmaceutical companies devote to driving brand equity in the marketplace, our report findings should be a strong signal to the industry that launch strategies need to change. Patients in our study made it clear that outcomes matter most which means that pharma companies should focus their launch strategies and communications more on patient value and impact versus the brand—and do so in a much more precise and personalized way. Reallocating parts of launch budgets to programs that resonate the most with different patient segments would not only better meet patients’ needs and deliver better outcomes, but likely provide the companies with better ROI.”

 

Accenture provides pharma two recommendations in the report:

1)    Bring an outcome – not just a product – to market. Patients value outcomes over brands, so instead of launching just products, pharmaceutical companies should start launching evidence-based solutions, or products with services as a secondary offering. This will require collaborative data-sharing – between patients, providers and payers – along with advanced analytics to generate robust insights and delivery via digital channels. This mindset should begin at the clinical trial-stage so it informs new launch strategies and full commercialization.

2)    Make it personal and precise. One size no longer fits all; pharmaceutical companies need to understand patient sub-segments and develop value-driven launch strategies tailored to each segment. Harnessing advanced analytics and other new technologies that leverage the proliferation of health data will help enable companies to modify launch strategies that make new treatments more relevant to patients while also driving better-informed resource and investment allocations.

 
Thursday
Dec072017

Are your healthcare consumers who they say they are?

By Claire Thayer, December 7, 2017

 

Verifying healthcare consumer identities has become enormously complex requiring sophisticated advanced authentication technology.  A HIMSS report on Patient Portal Identity Proofing and Authentication, tells us that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) identifies three factors as the cornerstone of identity authentication:

 

• Something you know (for example, a password)

• Something you have (for example, an ID badge or a cryptographic key)

• Something you are (for example, a fingerprint or other biometric data)

 

Multi-factor authentication refers to the use of more than one of the factors listed above, which NIST requires to reach a high level of confidence in authentication.  At least one of the factors must contain a secret that is securely presented to the electronic process that is verifying the user’s identity.  A second factor can be used to protect or activate the first. In this guidance report, the HIMSS Identity Management Task Force suggests that incorporation of smartphones as a second factor into the processes of identity proofing and authentication will significantly improve the security of electronic interactions with patients while minimizing the additional cost and difficulty.

This recent edition of the MCOL Infographic and e-Brief, co-sponsored by LexisNexis, focused on the intricacies, complexities and challenges involved with identity management:

 

 

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.

Wednesday
Nov152017

Patients Are a Design Problem

Patients Are a Design Problem
 

by Kim Bellard, November 15, 2017

 

When I say "patients are a design problem," I don't mean that the people who happen to be patients are a design problem.  They may well be, but that's an issue you'll have to take up with Darwin or your favorite deity (or, all-too-soon, perhaps a CRISPR editor...). 

No, I mean that making people into patients is a design problem.  And it's a big one.

 

Consider the following:

1.  Physician Respect: We treat physicians as something special. That white coat is no longer needed and may, in fact, 
be counterproductive, but serves to remind of us the deference the health care system believes physicians are due. 

2.  Patient experience: It's hard to get appointments.  The appointment time is often just a vague indicator of when we'll actually see our doctor.  We may have services done to us that we don't really understand and which not uncommonly are unpleasant, to say the least.   We may be asked to fast unnecessarily for hours before blood work or procedures.  We often are unsure about what is going to happen next, or when. It is not a patient-centered system.

3.  Medicalization:  We talk about the health care system, but we really mean the medical care system.  We almost never include, or pay for, the other things that impact our health, like diet, exercise, and environment. 

4.  Better, Soon: We've seen remarkable strides in what medical care can achieve.  We have become a nation of pill-poppers.  When something is wrong with us, we expect to be able to get it fixed, and we expect that to happen quickly. 

5.  Confusion reigns: Nothing about health care seems easy.  It's hard to pick a physician, or a health plan.  The terminology makes no pretense at being understandable to anyone not a health care professional.  The bills are practically indecipherable.  If you need multiple doctors, tests, or procedures -- which you almost certainly will -- you'll have to navigate the maze around getting them.  No one, lay or

professional, claims to understand the "system."

6.  Responsibility: We've delegated responsibility for our health to our health care professionals, especially our doctors.  It is more established than ever that regular exercise, moderate eating, and a balanced life would do more to improve our health than any regime of medical treatments.  Yet we continue to expect that the results of our increasingly poor habits will be "fixed." 

 

These are why we are "patients."  These are why we are expected to be patient.

We will always need physicians (although 
not always human ones!), and many other health care professionals.  That's a good thing.  They have knowledge and skills that can help us.  They deserve our respect. 

But we should design our health care system around us, not them. 

Make the "system" simpler.  Focus it around our health, not our care.  Expect us to have responsibility for our own health -- but ensure we have the tools we need to manage it.  Spend money to prevent health issues, not address them once they've happened.

If patients are a design problem, then maybe people can come up with a design solution.

 
This post is an abridged version of the posting in Kim Bellard’s blogsite. Click here to read the full posting

 
Friday
Oct062017

The Impact of Time and Money on The Physician – Patient Relationship

The Impact of Time and Money on The Physician – Patient Relationship
 

by Clive Riddle, October 6, 2017

 

The “physician-patient relationship remains strong but cost may challenge its future,” is the headline takeaway offered by The Physicians Foundation, who just released findings from their second biennial patient survey. Their 45-report discuss analyzes survey responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,747 adults, ages 27-75, who had two visits with the same doctor in the past year.

 

We are told “89 percent of consumers are fearful that the rising cost of healthcare will adversely impact them in the future. In particular, over half (56 percent) of patients say the cost of prescription drugs and pharmaceuticals directly contributes to rising healthcare costs. In fact, because of cost, 25 percent of patients surveyed said they did not fill a prescription and 19 percent have skipped doses of their medicine…..Fifty seven percent of healthcare consumers feel they are one sickness away from being in serious financial trouble. And 75 percent of consumers are concerned with their ability to pay for medical treatment if they were to get sick or injured, an increase from the first survey issued in 2016 when 62 percent were concerned.”

 

What do consumers think is driving increased costs? The Foundation says “eighty-eight percent of consumers look to pharma companies and the way they price drugs as the main reason for rising healthcare costs. Other factors that consumers feel contribute to rising healthcare costs include absence of free markets (24 percent) and fraud (23 percent).” 33% of consumers say they have debt because of medical costs, with 30% of those with debt owing $5,000 or more.

 

Time is the other major concern. The Foundation states that “only 11 percent of patients and 14 percent of physicians report that they have all the time they need together. This signals a significant challenge to providing high quality care, especially when 90 percent of patients feel the most essential element of a quality healthcare system is a solid physician-patient relationship.”

 

The Foundation goes on to report that “65 percent of patients feel that time is always or often limited with the physician, however only half of physicians feel similarly. Yet the same number of patients (53 percent) and physicians (52 percent) are of a common mindset in terms of workload – believing physicians to be at full capacity.” 

 

But despite the pressures from time and money, 95% of patients said they were satisfied with their overall primary doctor relationship, including 64% who said they were very satisfied. 5% said they think about changing their primary doctor all the time, and 15% said they thought about that often.