Tracking American Sentiment: Managing Healthcare is Hard


New report from Actium Health reveals the gap between Americans' desire to be proactive about their health and putting that into practice

PALO ALTO, Calif., June 17, 2022  – Actium Health, healthcare's leading CRM Intelligence company, today released the results of a study that reveals the gap between Americans' desire to be – and take steps towards being – healthy and the challenging reality of managing their healthcare.

Key findings:

  • 35% of Americans are reactive about their health, only making appointments when they have a health-related issue;
  • One third (30%) believe it's their doctor's responsibility to keep them on top of their preventive appointments and screenings;
  • 50% of Americans feel less healthy in 2022, compared to 2019.

"For so long, the burden of navigating the complicated U.S. healthcare system fell to the patient, which often left many on the sidelines and led to poor outcomes," said Michael Linnert, founder and CEO of Actium Health. "Our research shows that we are closing the gap between people's desire to be proactive about their health and reality, but still have a way to go to get providers and patients on the same path towards an engaged, activated and seamless healthcare experience."

Preventive care can save lives, but isn't always easy

Nearly all – 92% – respondents believe preventive healthcare, such as screenings, is important to their overall health and wellness. And yet, 35% report being reactive about their health, only making an appointment when a health-related issue arises.

When people have followed recommendations for preventive screenings, 24% report having been diagnosed with something following the appointment. Of those, 42% began and finished treatment; 27% began and continue treatment; and for 19%, the diagnosis was chronic.

For people who do not follow standard recommendations for preventive care appointments, the reasons include (in order):

  • "I don't go to the doctor unless I have a problem"
  • "It's too costly"
  • "Making appointments is too much of a hassle"
  • "I simply forget to make them"

Healthcare management is hard and requires a provider-patient partnership

One out of five Americans say that doing their taxes is less painful than managing their healthcare. Other activities respondents report being less painful include: house chores (52%); finances (26%); childcare (20%). 

When asked who they believe is responsible for keeping them on top of their healthcare, such as making and attending preventive appointments, 30% responded that it's their doctor's responsibility; 1 out of 10 said their partner/spouse is responsible.

The findings highlight a great opportunity for doctors to build a solid partnership with their patients: a willingness and desire among Americans to have a more engaged relationship with their healthcare providers. Specifically, 61% report that they would like to hear more from their doctors in 2022. And, when it comes to improving their health, Americans report that they would have a better chance of doing so if their doctor is engaged; on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best chance), the average response was 6.5.

However, there are some obstacles in the way and extra work providers will need to put in to achieve a productive partnership. Nearly one quarter (24%) do not believe their doctor understands them, their health risks and priorities. 

  • "I don't see my doctor enough" (44%)
  • "I don't feel like my doctor listens to my concerns" (38%)
  • "I never get enough time with my doctor to really talk about my health concerns" (35%)
  • "I don't have one doctor that I see regularly" (30%)

Room for improvement: a snapshot of Americans' health post-COVID

When asked to score their overall health today, half (50%) reported feeling less healthy than in 2019, pre-COVID. The following went into that decline:

  • "I do not get enough physical activity/exercise" (70%)
  • "I have gained too much weight" (50%)
  • I am eating too poorly" (42%)
  • "My mental health has declined" (39%)
  • "I have avoided my dental/oral health" (27%)

More than 8 out of 10 (83%) said they are likely/extremely likely to take steps to improve their health in 2022, with 37% saying they'd like to be more proactive about their healthcare. 

Linnert continued: "The fact that Americans find it less painful to do their taxes and manage their finances than their healthcare should be a wake-up call for our industry. The good news is that we have the data and technology today to make it easier – and even automated – for health systems to connect with patients in a way that not only engages, but activates, them. If we can close the gap between people who want to be proactive about their healthcare and those who are, we can drive better outcomes, lower costs and improve the overall experience with the system."

Access the full survey report: Tracking American Sentiment: Managing Healthcare is Hard.

Survey Methodology

Actium Health conducted an online survey in February 2022 to determine how the pandemic impacted patients' engagement preferences. The survey captured responses from a broad distribution of 1,230 Adults (18+) in the U.S.

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