The FINANCIAL — Healthcare research released on August 15 from Xerox shows large disconnects between patients and healthcare professionals providing and insuring their care. This research suggests that across all participants in the U.S. healthcare system, there is still much to be settled regarding the transformation driven by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Who is responsible for consumers’ health?
Nearly 50 percent of consumers say they take complete responsibility for their health, whereas less than 6 percent of healthcare professionals believe this to be true. In addition, less than 5 percent of consumers say they don’t know how to take charge of their own healthcare, but nearly 40 percent of payers and providers say consumers don’t know how to take charge.
Moreover, 90 percent of payers and providers say patients need encouragement and help from their healthcare provider to make living a healthier lifestyle a priority, but only 55 percent of patients say they need such encouragement.
The study, conducted by Y&R’s BAV Consulting on behalf of Xerox, surveyed 761 U.S. adults who purchase health insurance and are healthcare decision makers for their households and 204 healthcare payers and providers.
“Consumers and healthcare professionals have very different views on patient empowerment and control,” said Rohan Kulkarni, vice president of Strategy and Portfolio, Xerox Healthcare Business Group. “Payers and providers are much less likely to believe patients are taking responsibility for their health than what patients perceive to be true. The results suggest that improved communication could allow healthcare professionals to better showcase to their patients how they’re a partner in their health.”
One solution that can help is Xerox’s Virtual Health Solutions that allows providers to communicate and connect with their patients anytime and anywhere by overcoming interoperability challenges and powering front and back office services.
Are patients shopping around?
The research also found discrepancies between patients and professionals regarding a patient’s willingness to shop for healthcare.
Only 34 percent of consumers are more likely to shop around for a provider than they were one year ago, but more than 71 percent of payers and providers think patients are shopping.
When asked what consumers consider the top priority when selecting a provider, consumers said quality of care is number one. But payers and providers believe whether or not they take the patient’s insurance plan is the top consideration.
Ninety-five percent of payers and providers believe patients are not seeking or delaying treatment due to cost concerns, but only 42 percent of consumers say this is true.
“A lot of payers and providers think patients are shopping around for the best healthcare, but it simply is not the case,” continued Kulkarni. “The industry is clearly still adjusting to the shift toward consumer-centricity, and payers and providers may be best served to focus on patient retention by enhancing their communication channels.”
What are the Legal Implications?
It’s important to note that there are going to be plenty of ramifications in a legal sense when it comes to responsibility, cost, and liability. It seems clear that there are going to be issues that patients and healthcare professionals need to deal with, and there are a lot of elements to keep in mind here. Of course, there are going to be plenty of issues to consider when it comes to treatment and care, and this can lead to plenty of legal situations. For instance, there might be scenarios in which you find patients seeking legal action. Medical negligence lawyers tend to find themselves busy, and many patients feel as though they have grounds to hire them when things go wrong with treatment or medical advice.
Of course, there are other legal implications as well, and areas like supply chain, HR and infrastructure, as well as access to medication and the necessary tools and machinery can provide legal issues these days. This is all important to consider because the legal element of healthcare, and particularly when it comes to culpability and responsibility, play a very important role in the industry. The debate will continue, but it seems like there is always going to be some conflict on both sides as to who is responsible in the healthcare industry.
What is the solution?
Over 63 percent of consumers wish their pharmacist, healthcare provider and insurance company were more connected on their personal health. While interactions with each stakeholder are often transaction-based, Xerox’s Health Outcome Solutions offering can help the effort to coordinate care. The solution, currently available for providers and accountable care organizations with a payer solution coming in the future, offers a customized combination of analytics, clinical, technology and administrative services that help improve the health of patient populations.
Xerox also offers Care Integration Services that help healthcare payers identify members who need support and engage them with timely and personal clinical interventions. This enhanced member outreach service increases payers’ ability to assist their members in maintaining wellness and managing chronic medical conditions.
Xerox Healthcare helps healthcare organizations focus on improving lives through better, more affordable and accessible care by designing processes that work for the people delivering, enabling and receiving care.