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CVS study: Consumers want more personal health care

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The CVS Health 2022 Health Care Insights Study, released Monday, reveals that U.S. consumers many of whom delayed care over the past several years because of COVID-19 are now eager to restart their health and wellness journeys. Consumers say they want more meaningful and engaging relationships with health care providers and want them to know about and address their holistic health goals.

Most consumers perceive “health” and “health care” as all-encompassing and say they now have a new awareness of how physical health connects to social, emotional and mental health. Also, despite pandemic-related uncertainty about new variants, consumers continue to rely on their physicians and other health care providers to obtain trusted medical information.

CVS Health surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers and 400 health care providers about what kind of health care experience they want and what barriers may hinder their ability to achieve desired health outcomes. The study also reveals consumers’ evolving views about a post-pandemic health care industry, how consumers perceive their own well-being, and what consumers define as an ideal care delivery experience.

“The pandemic changed nearly everything about our world including the way many consumers view the importance of their health,” says CVS Health president and CEO Karen Lynch. “As we look to the future, CVS Health is uniquely positioned to reimagine health care that is centered around people simpler, more accessible, and more affordable, with better health outcomes.”

Study results show health care providers and consumers agree that increasing engagement and communication improves health outcomes. Whether their goal is decreasing daily stress levels or increasing overall well-being, 81% of consumers say it is very important their primary care provider is aware of patients’ overall happiness and life satisfaction levels, and to be aware of how patients deal with difficult emotions and stress.

The Health Care Insights Study also reveals consumer desire for health care to become more coordinated, seamless and holistic, with 83% of consumers saying coordination among all their health care providers is important to their health.

Survey respondents consider convenience, accessibility and cost as key factors shaping their health care experience and outcomes. Virtual care options are valuable, as consumers want to receive medical care on their own terms. Nearly all consumers (92%) say convenience is an important factor when choosing their primary care provider, with more than one in three (37%) having scheduled a virtual visit to save money or time. Health care providers say virtual options are helping more patients adhere to their care plans, and most (53%) say adding virtual care options has resulted in more patient visits. Virtual care visits also allow patients to speak about tough topics like mental health issues, depression, or substance abuse concerns more intimately and conveniently, with 48% of consumers saying they are likely to seek out mental health services if a virtual visit is available.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities to innovate across the health care industry, the Health Care Insights Study also found that many consumers are struggling to adhere to their health plan or take their medications as directed. Better communication could help. Most health care providers (94%) believe that interventions like text reminders or phone follow-ups support patients in following a prescribed care plan. Similarly, 71% of consumers say it is very or somewhat important to their health that they have customized alerts and receive reminders about screenings or checkups.

The good news is that consumers’ trust in their health care providers has remained strong despite pandemic-related difficulties. Forty-four percent of consumers say they now have more appreciation for their health care provider than pre-pandemic.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • Physicians value a team-based care approach. 68% say coordinating with their patients’ other health care providers had a high to moderate impact on their ability to achieve desired patient outcomes.
  • Consumers want care that is open-ended, flexible, and unique. Consumers are open to non-traditional health care options, with over half 54% saying holistic care options involving diet, exercise and counseling are very or somewhat important to them.
  • Health care providers report they are spending a significant amount of time discussing COVID-19 prevention and safety with their patients. 68% of health care providers report they always or often discuss COVID-10 prevention/safety and vaccine efficacy with their patients.

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