IBM: Cost prohibits proactive healthcare

By Brian Dolan
05:50 am
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IBM Survey 2009Jane Sarasohn-Kahn has a great post over at Health Populi on a recent survey conducted by IBM that uncovers some stats about patients' relationships and attitudes toward primary care doctors, proactive healthcare and its associated costs.

IBM's survey found that the number one reason why Americans deter proactive health care is cost and that goes for the insured, uninsured, employed and unemployed. Postponing a visit to the doctor when feeling well is a common practice:

55 percent of all Americans say they can't afford the cost of wellness visits out-of-pocket
81 percent of uninsured Americans say they can't afford the cost of wellness visits out-of-pocket
76 percent of unemployed Americans say they can't afford wellness visits costs out-of-pocket
25 percent of Americans did not see their physician for a wellness visit in the past year
54 percent of those Americans who did not have a wellness visit said that it was not worth the out-of-pocket expense

While these numbers may not be too surprising, they do help illustrate some of the challenges facing an emerging industry like wireless healthcare, much of which is largely founded on the idea of proactive, consumer-empowered self-care. The survey also may throw cold water on the prospect of "consumers" being the answer to the question, "Who Pays?"

Then again, of the 25 percent of Americans who did not see their physician for a wellness visit in the past year, only 54 percent of them said it wasn't worth the out-of-pocket expense to do so. So only about one-eighth of Americans believe wellness visits are not worth the out-of-pocket expense and, therefore, do not go to them.

For more check out the graph from IBM below:

IBM Survey 2009