Deloitte healthcare consumer survey: more trust in pharma; more interaction over healthcare costs

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - November/December 2015

Biennial survey finds growing awareness of information options by consumers

Patients’ trust

of information from the pharma industry has doubled—from 9 to 18% of those surveyed—since 2010; but it’s still the lowest among competing sources such as pharmacies, hospitals and medical practitioners, with the latter having the highest rating of 49%. That’s one of the eye-catching results from the 2015 Survey of Health Care Consumers, conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The survey, based on a statistically grounded cross-section of the US public, looks at overall trends in healthcare consumerism and use of technology by consumers.

Even with the high trust expressed by consumers of doctors’ offices, a critical gap is emerging: 72% of consumers are “very interested” in communicating with their physicians using texting or email; but only 21% have actually been able to do so. Correspondingly high interest but low interactivity is indicated for video conferencing, mobile apps or image transfer to/from a provider. Rates of conferring with doctors via digital means have doubled in the past two years, suggesting that “digital communication between consumers and providers may continue trending upward,” says Deloitte—provided that the providers enable the connection.

A specific point of care is alerts or reminders to stay on prescription therapy: consumers doing so have grown from 9 to 13% overall over the past two years (while millennials aged 18-33 have jumped from 14 to 29%, seniors aged 70+ have declined from 6 to 5%).

Deloitte used “latent class segmentation analysis” (whatever that is) to distinguish six categories of consumers in its surveys:

  • Online and onboard
  • Sick and savvy
  • Shop and save
  • Out and about
  • Casual and cautious
  • Content and compliant.

Generally speaking, the level of engagement by consumers is highest among the “online and onboard” and “shop and save,” and lowest by the “casual and cautious.” Interestingly, the millennials are the highest category of “casual and cautious,” while boomers (aged 51-69) are the highest percentage of “online and onboard.”

While noting that one communication strategy will not work across the board for all consumers, Deloitte concludes that “The pace of consumer engagement could pick up if health plans, providers, life sciences companies, and other stakeholders accelerate the development of online resources that provide the trusted, accurate, and easy-to-understand information consumers want: adapting retail-oriented strategies from other industries and improving customer interfaces like websites and call centers may also be helpful.”

The full report is available here.

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