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Survey Indicates Pent-Up Demand For Imaging

June 24, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Practice Management
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In a new survey of U.S. health care consumers, 47 percent of those with insurance said they had undergone an imaging test in the past 12 months.

For those without insurance, the figure was only 20 percent.

Those nuggets come from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, which has taken these surveys since 2008. The most recent survey by the Washington, DC-based center took place in April. You can download a PDF of the results here.

Not surprisingly, those without insurance were much more likely to postpone care when they were sick or injured; 40 percent of the uninsured said they did so, compared with 23 percent of the insured. If the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does eventually take full effect, thus significantly increasing the ranks of the insured, radiologists could get the benefit of significant pent-up demand for imaging services.

Of all consumers, 25 percent said they had decided not to see a doctor when sick or injured, and 19 percent delayed or skipped treatment recommended by a doctor. Only 23 percent said they felt confident that their household was financially prepared to handle future health care costs.

The survey found some startlingly negative views about the health care system:

  • 51 percent of consumers said they believe that half or more of health care spending is wasted.
  • Only 38 percent said they received decent value for money spent on health insurance, though 61 percent said they received excellent or good value for money spent on physician or specialist services.
  • 34 percent said they believed the performance of the U.S. health care system is worse today than it was five years ago.
  • Only 24 percent said the health care system works better than most systems in the world. Only 16 percent said they were satisfied with its performance.
  • 3 percent gave the health care system a grade of A; 19 percent gave it a B; 42 percent gave it a C; 24 percent gave it a D; and 12 percent gave it an F.

The survey respondents expressed little confidence in government. Broken down by generation, those who agreed that “the government does a good job balancing priorities in our system” ranged from a low of 7 percent among baby boomers (born 1946–1964) to a high of 14 percent among seniors (born 1900-1945).

However, “increased privatization in our system would improve its performances” drew agreement from only 21 percent in Generation Y (born 1982-1993), 22 percent in Generation X (born 1965-1981), 26 percent among baby boomers, and 24 percent among seniors.

The survey didn’t ask what people thought about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) but the respondents evidently weren’t much enthused about its alternatives, including the present system.

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