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Groundbreaking Study Reveals How Consumers Shop for Health Care
Date:11/28/2007

Research finds people want information on cost and quality

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The number of people inclined to comparison shop for medical services such as knee surgery could be much higher than previously thought, according to groundbreaking research conducted by Regence.

Seven out of 10 consumers indicated they would seek out information such as price and quality for medical services, according to a recent survey of 2,000 people in the states Regence serves: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah.

"This data fills a gap in our knowledge about consumers, and opens a window on how people would shop for health care," said Robert Harris, who oversees Regence market research.

Regence developed the parameters for the research, and respondents, both insured and uninsured, were chosen by an independent firm for their Internet shopping habits. Participants were asked to select one of 25 health care services they might need in the next five years and polled about their information-seeking behavior. The 25 non-urgent services were the types that would allow time for research, such as childbirth or diagnostic testing. Both covered and non-covered services (such as teeth-whitening) were included.

Of those who thought they would seek out information, 78 percent indicated a preference for quality, while 74 percent indicated a preference for cost. Taken as a whole, almost 50 percent of all 2,000 respondents said they would be "very likely" to compare provider quality, seek out information from reputable medical sources and to rely on the reputation of the service provider.

These results indicate substantially higher interest in cost and quality information than other research into consumer behavior, Harris said.

Further findings indicated:

-- People with health insurance were more likely to research quality than

cost.

-- People without health insurance -- 8 in 10 -- were
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SOURCE Regence
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