Health care a big concern for Americans

The economy and jobs still tops the list of issues Americans care most about, but concern over health care ranks second.

According to research by Krames StayWell, health care ranks ahead of taxes, education, terrorism and energy.

To address their concerns, more Americans say they are turning to consumer health websites for information (aside from talking to their doctor).

Learning about a specific medical condition or researching symptoms is the most common information people seek. People also go online to refill prescriptions, check lab results, schedule an appointment and pay their bill. In addition, most consumers (83 percent) surveyed said they would like to be able to access their medical record online.

“The health care landscape continues to evolve and the trend toward consumers becoming more active participants in managing their care is growing,” says Trent Sterling, president, Krames StayWell.

The use of smart phones and text messaging for health information is on the rise as the percentage of people using their phones to seek information on health symptoms more than doubled in the past year, from nine to 23 percent. Also, 64 percent said they would like information about a specific condition via text message and nearly all (91 percent) said they would like to receive appointment reminders.

More people say they are looking into information about preventative health and wellness.

Still, the survey notes more traditional forms of communication such as direct mail and print newsletters are still a "valued resource."

“As a result of health reform, it’s become increasingly important for health plans to ensure they are effectively communicating with and engaging consumers,” says Rob Klein, president, Klein & Partners. “While traditionally these organizations have primarily communicated to employers, they now need to take a direct-to-consumer approach.”

 

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