Entries in Surveys & Reports (75)


Surveying Physicians on Their Views of the ACA

By Clive Riddle, October 17, 2014

The Medicus Firm, a national healthcare recruiting firm has just released results regarding health reform, from their 11th annual Physician Practice Preference Survey. This year’s survey shows an uptick grades doctors give the Affordable Care Act, but a still overall negative review. 2,272 physicians and advanced practice providers from 19 specialties and all 50 states participated in this year’s survey.

When asked to give the ACA an overall grade, 8.6% awarded an “A”, up from 6.3% last year. Meanwhile, 22.35% graded the ACA an “F” this year, down from 30.2% a year ago.

The survey went on to ask doctors to rate the ACA on specific objectives, such as improving efficiency of healthcare, improving access to healthcare, improving quality of healthcare, and decreasing healthcare costs. Medicus reports that “the best and most improved grades were awarded for ‘improving access to healthcare’, with a resounding 23.4 percent giving the ACA an ‘A’ in this objective, up from 11.8 percent last year. Additionally, 27.11 percent of physicians gave the ACA a ‘B’ for improving healthcare access. Only 13.68 percent of respondents failed the ACA in this category, down from 23.6 percent who gave it an ‘F’ last year for this objective. The objective receiving the lowest grades was ‘improving efficiency of healthcare.’ However, even this category showed some improvement over last year. Only about 7 percent of physicians gave the ACA an ‘A’ for improving efficiency, which is up slightly from 5.6 percent last year. Furthermore, 29.73 percent of physicians gave the ACA an ‘F’ for improving efficiency, which is down from 35.4 percent who gave it a failing grade in this category last year.”

It should come as no surprise that from the onset, physicians would view the ACA negatively. Perhaps it should also not be surprising that some of them would view things more positively once the core of the Act was finally implemented. Jim Stone, President of The Medicus Firm, tells us "Physicians seem to have become slightly more positive about the ACA compared to last year's survey. As of last year's survey, the ACA had not yet been fully implemented, although many aspects of the legislation were already in motion. This year's survey was conducted after the ACA was in full effect for several months, and four years after its passage into law. Unfortunately, the grades on the whole are not very positive, so it's good that there is some improvement in physicians' perceptions of the effectiveness of the ACA."

The Medicus Firm isn’t the only organization surveying physicians on their views of the Affordable Care Act. Physicians Practice Magazine conducts the annual Great American Physician Survey, which this year had 1,311 respondents. Their results, announced in August, included this reform question:
“Which statement best describes your personal feelings about the Affordable Care Act, in terms of its effect on patient access to care: [A] I think it’s been great for Americans (18.9%); [B] I think it’s mostly good, but not all good; and [C] I think it has done a disservice to Americans (39.2%).”

Finally, The Physicians Foundation commissioned Merritt Hawkins, a physician search and consulting firm, to conduct a survey of 20,000 physicians, with the resulting report 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians: Practice Patterns and Perspectives released last month. The survey included a question similar to The Medicus Fund’s grading of the ACA, with Merritt Hawkins finding that “when asked about what grade physicians would give the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 46 percent give a D or F grade. Younger (ages 45 or lower), employed physicians were more inclined to give the ACA favorable marks than older (46 or higher), private practice owners. In fact, 63 percent of younger physicians (ages 45 or lower), would give the ACA a grade of C or above.”


Study on Health Plan Shopping – Reluctants, Premiums and Defaulters

By Clive Riddle, October 10, 2014

Vitals – who provide a consumer health information platform including doctor ratings and reviews, has released a study on health plan shoppers in open enrollment season, and lumping many of the shoppers into three categories: (1) The Reluctant; (2) The Premium; and (3) The Defaulter. Vitals study was based on their August online survey of 1,000 adults.

The big takeaways from their survey?

  • 80 percent of respondents said they were not planning to switch their insurance this year.
  • More than 1 in 5 are dissatisfied with their plan.
  • Nearly one-third said they were unhappy with the value for cost of their plan.
  • 27 percent were unhappy with customer support services
  • 9 percent were unhappy with the lack of quality network doctors and hospitals

So what the heck are Vitals’ trio of Reluctants, Premiums and Defaulters?

Vitals classifies Reluctants as age 30-44 with no dependents and household income under $25k, who are satisfied with their plan provider network but not the plan value. Vitals says “the Reluctant doesn’t want to buy insurance and isn’t satisfied with their plan – if they even have one. They’re more likely to have an HMO to keep costs down, but still say they’re not getting a good value for cost. Over 1 in 4 will switch their health plan during open enrollment this year. Their main gripe: Cost. They index higher for cost increases over the past year and report being surprised more by health care costs this year, compared to last year.”

Vitals classifies Premiums as age 45-60 with dependents and household income over $100k, who also are happiest with the network and unhappiest with plan value. Vitals tells us “the Premium is most likely to have Cadillac-like coverage for their health care. They index higher for employer-provided health care and PPO-type plans, which offer the most flexibility. Premium shoppers are most likely to say they’re happy with their health insurance – only 5 percent will switch during open enrollment! And they uniformly agree they have adequate access to medical care.”

Finally, Vitals classifies Defaulters as any age adult (but often age 60+) with no dependents and household income of $50 - $99k. They define the Defaulter as someone “on cruise control and typically doesn’t review or change their plan from year to year.”


Scorecard on Value Based Payments

By Clive Riddle, October 3, 2014

Catalyst for Payment Reform has just released their second annual National Scorecard and California Scorecard on value based payments and payment reform made to providers by purchasers, funded by The Commonwealth Fund and the California HealthCare Foundation.

The universe they utilized to track and measure provider payments was based on the National Business Coalition on Health’s eValue8 health plan survey platform, in partnership with NBCH and these business coalitions: the Colorado Business Group on Health, HealthCare 21, the Memphis Business Group on Health, the Mid-Atlantic Business Group on Health, the Northeast Business Group on Health, the Pacific Business Group on Health, and the Washington Health Alliance.

What meets their definition of value oriented payments? They say they are in-network payments that are “either tied to performance or designed to cut waste” and that 40% of commercial payments meet this definition. What makes up the other 60%? They say payment types without quality incentives that include “traditional feefor-service (FFS), bundled, capitated and partially capitated payments.”

What comprises the 40% that is value oriented? Quality incentive driven Bundled Payments (0.1%) + Non FFS Shared Savings (0.2%) + Non FFA Non-Visit Payments (0.6%) + Shared Risk (1.0%) + Partial or Condition Specific Capitation (1.6%) + FFS and Shared Savings (2.0%) + FFS Based Pay and P4P (12.8%) + Full Capitation (15.0%) + All Other (6.7%) = 40.0%.

Here’s more of the numbers shared in this year’s scorecard:

  • 53% of value-oriented payments put providers at some financial risk if they fail to improve care or spend over budget
  • 38% of payments to hospitals are value-oriented,
  • 10% of payments to specialists and 24% of payments to primary care physicians are value oriented
  • Of these value-oriented payments to physicians, 71% of the total goes to specialists, and 29% to PCPs
  • 15% of participating health plans’ patient members are formally “attributed” to a provider participating in a payment reform contract

Humana Study on Workplace Wellness: It’s not just ROI

By Clive Riddle, September 19, 2014 

Humana has just published a 22 page report Measuring wellness: From data to insights which based on their study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, examining “why companies implement workplace wellness, how data influences these programs and identifies obstacles that inhibit program participation.” The study surveyed 225 U.S.-based executives and 630 full-time employees from organizations with workplace wellness programs. 

Beth Bierbower, President of Humana’s Employer Group Segment, tells us “It’s interesting to validate that employers now view ROI as an important, but not exclusive or even primary measure of a wellness program’s success. Employers are now seeing that employee health is important beyond health care costs, it has profound impacts on productivity, retention, workplace engagement and morale.” The report states that instead of asking about ROI, “perhaps the question should be, ‘do we improve health at a reasonable price’ as opposed to ‘do we save money by doing so.’” 

Here are some key findings highlighted from the study:

  • Nearly 70 percent of executives consider their organization’s wellness program to be cost effective, even though not all of the outcomes are measurable.
  • While 86 percent of executives say improving employee health as an indirect driver of productivity, morale and engagement is their top reason for implementing a wellness program, cost factors are still important, including reducing employee health care costs (66 percent) and controlling medical claims (48 percent).
  • About 30 percent of employees rate subsidized gym memberships, onsite health and wellness facilities, and budgeted wellness activity time during business hours, as the three most important services that would motivate participation.          
  • 64 percent of employees have used fitness devices to monitor health and capture data, but only 19 percent use them regularly.         
  • Two-thirds of executives feel data collection and interpretation is the biggest challenge confronting effective workplace wellness.         
  • 53% of survey respondents say their organization collects health-related employee data as part of its wellness program
  • The biggest disconnects between executives and employees regarding their perceptions of obstacles to employee participation in wellness programs, were in regards to the statements: “Employees don’t perceive health and wellness as a high priority” (30% of executives agreed vs. 2% of employees); “Employees are concerned that personal information will not remain confidential (43% of executives agreed vs. 27% of employees); and “Employees distrust employer motives” (24% of executives agreed vs. 11% of employees.)     

Clinicians Embracing mHealth – but not so much if patients are involved

By Clive Riddle, September 12, 2014 

Although lagging behind many other service sectors, healthcare clinicians do continue to their march towards the inevitable professional embrace of mobile apps, social media and other web applications – typically as long as that embrace falls short of interacting with their patients. 

Wolters Kluwer Health just released survey results on nurse practitioner use of mobile health, social media and the web. The survey was conducted on their behalf by Lippincott Solutions. 

The survey found that 65% of nurses currently use a mobile device at work for professional purposes at least 30 minutes per day, and 95% of healthcare organizations allow them to consult websites and other online resources for clinical information at work. 

The survey findings also indicated:

  • 83% of nurses perceive that their organization's policy allows patient care staff access to web sites, including social media, to access general health information regarding patient conditions
  • 48% of respondents that access health information say their organization encourages nurses to access online resources; while 41% allow for occasional use; and 5% only as a last resort
  • 89% of healthcare organizations allow nurses to use online search engines at work
  • 60% of respondents say they use social media to follow healthcare issues at work
  • 86% say they follow healthcare issues on social media outside of work
  • 20% of nurses use mobile health apps for two hours or more per day
  • Among those who use mobile devices at work, Nurse Managers, at 77%, are more likely to use them than Staff Nurses, at 58% 

But their report notes that “73% of healthcare respondents say that organizational policies strictly prohibit direct patient care staff to have social interaction with patients on social media and social sites, compared to 51% say that organizational policies prohibit direct patient care staff to have access to their organizations’ own social media pages.” 

A Walters Kluwer survey of physicians last year found that 21% of doctors didn’t use smartphones in their practice, 46% used them less than 25% of the day, and 33% used them more than 25% of the day. Regarding use of tablets, 39% of doctors didn’t use tablets in their practice, 37% used them less than 25% of the day, and 24% used them more than 25% of the day. Of those who did use mobile devices at work,  24% use mhealth apps; while 33% used their smartphones to communicate with patients, and  17% used their tablets for patient communication. 

While many integrated systems like Kaiser have structured electronic interaction with patients into their system, basic impediments for many continue to be a lack of reimbursement, as well as legal concerns about doing so. 

Yet it is exactly that interaction that their customers are asking for.  For example, Harris Poll results just released for a survey commissioned by Wellocracy found that 66% of those who have used a wearable mhealth tracker or app in the past 12 months ndicated that they would be interested in receiving personalized feedback on their health data from a trusted health expert, such as a doctor, nutritionist, fitness trainer or licensed lifestyle coach, and of those respondents: 75% would be willing to pay for personalized feedback and coaching from a doctor, and 73% from a nutritionist, nurse or dietician.