The Physician Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to inspire physicians to lead in providing high-quality, cost-effective conducted a healthcare survey of American patients to find out the current environment of American Healthcare. The survey results highlighted three main pressing reasons of the concern amongst the patients. Most of the patients face these hurdles while obtaining health services from the system. Those three issues are the high cost of medical services, confusion regarding medical policies and opioid crisis. Below are the details about each problem found out in the survey.
High Cost Medical Services
Seventy-three percent of American patients surveyed were concerned about their ability to pay for medical treatment if they get sick or injured since about half of Americans believe they’re only one disease away from financial trouble. Ripley Hollister, MD, a board member and chair of the research committee of The Physicians Foundation, says, “As drug prices and expenses of care continue to rise, Americans are increasingly worried about healthcare costs,”
Confusion regarding ‘single-payer healthcare’
In the midst of the ongoing presidential debates and the forthcoming elections, healthcare has become an important part of political talks. Given the well-known fact that more than 90% of Americans have health insurance, the survey revealed that 77% of Americans are unable to agree on one concept of “single-payer healthcare” and 22% do not even know what “single-payer healthcare” entails, which is a phrase often used by politicians when they discuss future healthcare plans.
Major opioids crisis
The survey also found that most Americans were affected by the opioid crisis, with 35% of Americans knowing someone who has abused or is addicted to opioids and 21% knowing someone who died of opioid use. Hollister says,”And as we’re seeing currently in the news, pharmaceutical companies are being sued over and blamed for the opioid crisis, but our survey shows Americans are unsure who to blame for the opioid crisis.” Although 53% of Americans accuse pharmaceutical companies, and 39% blame physicians. Ironically, the 2018 Survey of American Physicians found that, considering the opioid crisis, 69% of physicians prescribe fewer pain medications.
The study also showed positive attitudes towards the health care system, 92% of patients were pleased with their relationship with their primary care physicians.The survey also highlighted specific approaches that can be taken to fix the healthcare system, for instance, 77% of Americans agree that hospitals, clinics and physicians can look beyond the medical needs of a patient to see whether factors such as food, transportation and housing could interfere with health problems. The results indicated that policy makers and physicians should focus on addressing social determinants of health.