Patients want more coordinated care

September 1, 2008

Consumers are demanding fundamental changes in the U.S. healthcare system to gain more timely access and better coordination of healthcare, according to a survey.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Consumers are demanding fundamental changes in the U.S. healthcare system to gain more timely access and better coordination of healthcare, according to a national survey by the Commonwealth Fund. To address healthcare quality, access and cost issues, the public wants presidential candidates to offer realistic and practical health reform proposals.

Many survey respondents complained of problems getting emergency appointments and weekend care when sick, and point to a lack of coordination and inefficient healthcare service as the source of the problem. Almost half of the 1,000 adults queried reported difficulties obtaining test results, access to medical records or reports from specialists. And one-third of respondents said that doctors ordered redundant tests or recommended unnecessary treatment within the past two years.

Another problem is hassles dealing with medical bills and health insurance. More than one-quarter complained that they had to spend too much time on paperwork and resolving billing disputes. The vast majority of patients said they want to have one place or doctor responsible for coordinating care and a way to get care on nights and weekends without going to emergency rooms.

To achieve this kind of care, most of the survey respondents said they want to see a more organized, team-based system of care. And they want the next president to offer proposals for improving the quality of care and for ensuring access to affordable healthcare services.