New Study Finds Consumers Want Accessible, Affordable, Technology-Enabled Health Care

July 22nd 2020

Consumers and providers were asked for their thoughts on the state of health care and how they are navigating this evolving landscape during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Consumers need more accessible, personalized, and technology-driven health care than ever before and are seeking simplicity in the way they engage in their own health, according to the results of the 2020 Path to Better Health Study conducted by CVS Health.

Consumers and providers were asked for their thoughts on the state of health care and how they are navigating this evolving landscape during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. With the use of technology and data analytics in health care reaching new levels, consumers are more likely to use technology to communicate with their providers, according to CVS.

The survey results showed that 48% of consumers said they would be more likely to communicate with health care professionals if they were able to do so through digital messaging, which is a 41% increase from the 2019 survey results. Additionally, 32% prefer telehealth, showing a 19% increase from 2019; and virtual office visits, such as Skype or FaceTime, were preferred by 29%, an increase of 20% from 2019.

"The pandemic has forced countless Americans to rethink their approach to health and explore different avenues of care," said Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health, in a prepared statement. "Whether in the community, in the home or in the palm of their hand, people are discovering new ways to conveniently and affordably address their health care needs, including mental and behavioral health. We expect these changes will transform the way care is delivered moving forward."

Many consumers noted that members of their household struggle with high blood pressure (41%), obesity (35%), mental illness (28%), and diabetes (17%).

Further, addressing mental health is of growing importance for consumers, with 44% of those between the ages of 18 years and 34 years, and 45% of those between the ages of 35 years to 50 years indicating they no longer have a desire to be social. Meanwhile, only 29% of those aged 51 years to 64 years said the same. The 2019 findings found that 48% of consumers aged 18 years to 34 years, and 45% of those aged 35 years to 50 years reported they did not have a desire to be social versus 35% of people aged 51 years to 64 years.

While 62% of consumers still go to their primary care physician (PCP) to treat a minor illness or injury, nearly 31% are likely to visit a non-emergency walk-in clinic. In 2019, 59% of consumers reported going to their PCP for a minor illness or injury, while 28% said they would visit a non-emergency walk-in clinic.

In addition, 92% of survey respondents said it is very or somewhat important that health care be convenient, a factor that has only become more critical as a result of COVID-19. About 35% of people said health care costs are an obstacle to staying healthy, and close to 49% have not visited a doctor when they had a minor illness or injury due to cost.

Although cost is a top barrier to care, only 66% of patients said their PCP and other health care providers had not asked about the “affordability” of health care nor discussed resources to assist with these costs, according to CVS.

REFERENCE

Amidst a pandemic, consumers say they want accessible, affordable and technology-enabled health care, new CVS Health study finds. CVS Health. https://www.cvshealth.com/news-and-insights/press-releases/amidst-a-pandemic-consumers-say-they-want-accessible-affordable. Published July 14, 2020. Accessed July 22, 2020.

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