What do consumers really want when it comes to healthcare?

And how are their opinions affected by political orientation?

Those are big questions nowadays.

NDP Marketing and Advertising, Richmond, VA, and Catalyst Healthcare Research, Nashville, TN, conducted an independent national study of more than 1,000 people in an effort to understand consumer perceptions of population health. While respondents don’t really comprehend or relate to the actual term population health, they do have very decided opinions about what it should look like.

Perhaps the most interesting and timely finding is that regardless of political affiliation, most Americans—82 percent—expect both federal and local government to take steps to improve the health of the community. In fact, among conservatives, 74 percent of respondents believe the federal government should take action, and 77 percent think local governments have a role to play.

When indicating what that role should be, liberals show significantly more support for government funding of sidewalks and bike lanes, and for health-oriented policy like taxing tobacco and sugary drinks. All respondents—liberals, independents and conservatives alike—demonstrate similar support for public education initiatives such as health education in schools.

Most respondents also feel that hospitals and insurance companies should be involved in improving community health by providing free health screenings, helping patients coordinate care among providers and offering free classes on health topics.

Some other salient facts:

  • The most popular way Americans think third-party organizations should improve community health is through free health screenings, whether it’s from hospitals (64%), insurance companies (56%) or their local government (42%).
  • The most prevalent ways Americans feel the federal government should promote community health is through funding state and local health departments (53%) and encouraging health education in schools (40%).
  • Households with an annual income of $50k or less are twice as likely to report their health as fair, poor, or very poor compared to higher income households. They are also 34% more likely to say they have no or only some control over their own health.

It is heartening to note that the vast majority—87 percent—of Americans think the individual and the family is responsible for their own health, yet they also feel they should not carry this responsibility alone. They believe that hospitals and insurance companies as well as local and federal government should all be active participants in helping our communities get well and stay well.

This is one issue where we are all on the same page. To learn more about population health strategies and marketing’s role in promoting health improvement visit pophealth.ndp.agency.

Susan Dubuque is a principal and co-founder of NDP, and a nationally recognized expert in behavioral marketing.  She literally wrote the book on marketing’s role in health improvement — Gearing up for Population Health: Marketing for Change, published by the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development of the American Hospital Association (2018).

Catalyst Healthcare Research, Nashville, TV, is now a part of Service Management Group (SMG), global leader in PX measurement.