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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: February 2, 2010
Are Consumers Getting The Information They Need From Health Plans?

More than 74 percent of those responding do not believe that MCOs are adequately providing and addressing the information needs of today’s healthcare consumer, according to the"Managed Care Leadership Survey" sponsored by the Managed Care Information Center. Only 21 percent thought health plans were doing an adequate job.

There was so much of a response from survey participants on this subject that your editors have included more comments on this discussion in this issue. For instance, one respondent who said the health plans are not fulfilling the needs for information, said health plans have "too much control on their part, not enough for the savvy healthcare consumer."

Part of the problem may be that needs are highly diverse, said Peter Kongstvedt, P.R., a principal with Kongstvedt Company, LLC, a consulting firm. "It becomes very difficult to meet them. Also consumers don’t necessarily trust MCOs to provide unbiased information." However, Kongstvedt acknowledged that "progress is being made."

Another reason health plans may not be hitting their mark, as one respondent said, is "the goalsof the plans sometimes are not the goals of the consumer."

"Prevention is the best form of healthcare and is the most affordable for all concerned. Most MCOs I know have an excellent variety of health education materials designed to inform and promote wellness and prevention," said Bill Govostes of Health Watch Inc., a national corporate health screening company.

A survey participant from a solutions provider said health plans "are starting to (hit their mark) with personal health records, etc., but they have a long way to go."

A government regulator offered that there is a lack of coordinated EMRs as well as a "lack of telemedicine and/or video medicine as well. We live in an age where consumers do banking, some educational classes, etc., all online at their convenience except for healthcare – consumers still need to go to providers’ Monday to Friday office hours which does not work for most consumers who work. Some things do not require you to be seen in person and could be handled via electronic or Internet communication."

"We’re still in the dark ages with respect to technology," added Ferris Taylor of NextFitness.

On a more positive note, an industry consultant said the situation is getting better. "But still not where it needs to be. I think there needs to be increased focus on providing financial information to members, especially those in CDHC."

Another consultant reasoned that robust information programs from MCOs would be "too expensive with questionable ROI."

The health plans are doing this "partially," observed Tom Kaye with Rxman. "This is a continuing challenge to place more information at the hands of the consumer. There is a plethora of information on the Internet, but we find a small number who engaged the knowledge and use it. Self care is an excellent example of lacking adoption, engagement and follow through," Kaye said.

Source: Managed Care Leadership Survey, Managed Care Information Center, www.themcic.com.


  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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