SOURCE: Osterman Research, Inc. and Health Industry News

August 01, 2006 12:23 ET

Patients Say Yes, Healthcare Providers Say No

A New Report From Osterman Research and Health Industry News Indicates There's a Major Disconnect Between Patients and Healthcare Providers

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2006 -- A just released report, Communications Issues in the Healthcare Industry, 2006-2009, sheds new light on the lagging involvement of the healthcare industry with regard to communication technology adoption. Among the findings:

- Among healthcare providers, email is used heavily in communications between physicians. Yet 82% of healthcare consumers indicated that they have never received an email message from their primary healthcare provider.

- Only 15% of survey respondents indicated that their healthcare providers give them the option of scheduling their own appointments by email or through a Web site.

- Nearly three-quarters of healthcare consumers would prefer to pay their medical bills through an online system, but only one in seven can currently do so. By contrast, while three-quarters of healthcare consumers currently pay their medical bills via postal mail, only 30% actually prefer this approach.

The Study, completed in June of 2006, also polled healthcare payers and providers about their communication infrastructure and messaging systems. According to Michael Osterman, principal of Osterman Research, "The lack of market forces at work within the healthcare industry is a key factor that has held back the use of email, IM and other technologies in this industry. If healthcare providers had to be more competitive in order to earn their patients' business, they would be more aggressive in seeking ways to reduce the cost of providing their services."

Gary Bryant, Editor of Health Industry News, and a co-author of the study, "Consumers and health IT vendors have something in common; they're both frustrated with the slow pace of communication technology adoption by the healthcare industry. Maybe vendors should take a page from pharmaceutical firms; market benefits directly to consumers and then let the consumers educate the medical community. "

The primary data sources for this report were three surveys of North American organizations that Osterman Research and Health Industry News conducted specifically for this report during May and June, 2006. The largest survey was with healthcare provider organizations, consisting of 33 questions and completed with 60 organizations. The second survey, with healthcare payers (e.g., insurance companies, government agencies and other payers), consisted of 25 questions and was completed with 50 organizations. The third survey, with healthcare consumers, consisted of 13 questions and was completed with 236 individuals.

Organizations interested in purchasing this study should visit either company's web sites: OstermanResearch.com or HealthIndustryNews.com. More information and executive summary may be found at http://www.healthindustrynews.com/html/report.html

About Osterman Research, Inc.

Osterman Research, Inc. provides market research, cost modeling, benchmarking and related services to vendors of technology-based products and services. Osterman Research, Inc. helps vendors, IT departments and other organizations make better decisions through the acquisition and application of relevant, accurate and timely data on markets, market trends, products and technologies.

About Health Industry News

Health Industry News is the flagship web publication of Wisdomatics, a leading provider of healthcare industry news and analysis. Along with BreakThrough Digest and SearchCancer.com, Health Industry News makes up the Wisdomatics Health Media Group. Health Industry News has grown into a leading health content aggregator and critical resource of breakthrough medical and medical business information.

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