Survey: many Americans view healthcare system as wasteful, unsafe

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A new study indicates that most patients in the United States view the healthcare they receive as generally lacking, according to a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, which found 42 percent of respondents reporting that the care they received is lacking.
          
The survey of over 1,000 adults from across the U.S. was conducted in June by Harris Interactive for The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System. The Commonwealth Fund is a private nonpartisan foundation that supports independent research on health and social issues
          
Some of the core complaints included poorly coordinated, inefficient, or unsafe care – which took place sometime in the last two years, including the ordering of unnecessary care or treatment by physicians, as well as failings in the sharing of essential health information between caregivers, the survey found.
          
To cure some of these problems, the survey found that many support moves to improve care coordination, and that use of health IT has the potential to vastly improve care quality. Additionally, 92 percent seem to favor the idea of more centralized care with one place or doctor responsible for providing and coordinating all of their medical care.     
          
"Rather than thinking more care is better care, patients are quite perceptive about wasteful care," said Cathy Schoen, lead author of the report on the survey findings, senior vice president, Commonwealth Fund. The survey found that one of four U.S. adults reported that their physician had recommended unnecessary care or treatment, and one of six reported their physician ordered tests that had already been done.
          
Other key results:

  • 48 percent of adults in middle-income families reported serious problems paying for health care and health insurance;
  • 76 percent of all adults said the health care system needed either fundamental change or complete rebuilding. These views were shared across income groups and regions of the country;
  • Survey respondents said the four top priorities for government action to resolve some of these problems include: reliable health insurance for all, controlling healthcare costs, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and repairing Medicare so that the program remains feasible in the long-term;
  • About half (48 percent) of respondents are worried about their ability to afford the healthcare now and in the future;
  • 39 percent report that time and paperwork used on disputes related to medical bills and health insurance represents a serious problem;
  • 39 percent of adults said they experienced serious problems getting timely appointments to see doctors;
  • 94 percent said it is important that they have easy access to their medical records;
  • 95 percent felt it is important to have information about the quality of care provided by doctors and hospitals; and
  • 87 percent believe it to be important for insurance companies to reward based on the basis of efficient high-quality care.