Stakeholder Views on Sustainability
In October 2011, the Optum Institute commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a national survey of U.S. adults, hospital leaders, and physicians in order to capture their views on the sustainability of their own health care communities. The survey asked not only about today’s health care environment but also whether the trajectory of change was for the better or for the worse. The survey also captured health care priorities and participants’ perceptions of what it would take to become more sustainable: reigning in costs and improving quality.
With a look toward the future, hospital executives saw a positive trajectory in terms of health-care change; physicians saw recent decline and feared it will accelerate. In an attempt to capture health-care priorities and stakeholder perceptions of what it would take to become more sustainable, in October 2011, the Optum Institute commissioned Harris Interactive to commission a national survey. Forty-five percent of hospital executives said their communities are more sustainable today than five years ago, and half said they expected the next five years to bring continued improvements.
Physicians see the prospects more negatively: only one in five (22 percent) said their communities today are more sustainable than five years ago, and only roughly the same number (26 percent) said changes would improve sustainability in the next five years.
The survey results shed light on three key challenges facing communities today, commonly recognized by all stakeholders:
- The Health Challenge: The Optum Institute survey asked all three stakeholder groups whether patients in their community received needed preventive care. U.S. adults believe that patients always or often receive needed preventive health care only a third (33 percent) of the time, and doctors think this is true only half (50 percent) of the time.
- The Quality Challenge: Nearly two thirds of physicians (64 percent) and hospital executives (62 percent) say that there are “significant differences in the quality of care provided by doctors” in their local area. Fewer U.S. adults (47 percent) responded that they were aware of quality differences. Reducing quality variation requires greater transparency and reporting, particularly empowering so that patients are empowered with information that allows them to judge and choose higher quality and more appropriate care.
- The Cost Challenge: U.S. adults, physicians, and hospital executives alike felt that the quality of care in their communities was on balance as good or better than average. However all three groups felt that costs could be significantly cut without jeopardizing quality. U.S. adults believe that health care costs in their community can be cut by between a quarter and a third (29 percent) - without having a negative impact on quality. Physicians and hospital executives, on average, thought cuts of approximately 15 percent were feasible.
For more information, download Optum Institute and Harris Interactive fact sheet.