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New survey: 82 percent of Americans think health care system needs major overhaul
Date:8/6/2008

ization: A Call for New Directions, found that, in addition to respondents' overall dissatisfaction with the health care system, people are frustrated with the way they currently get health care. In fact, 47 percent of patients experienced poorly coordinated medical care in the past two years -- meaning that they were not informed about medical test results or had to call repeatedly to get them, important medical information wasn't shared between doctors and nurses, or communication between primary care doctors and specialists was poor.

Respondents pointed out the need for a more cohesive care system. Nine of 10 surveyed believe that it is very important or important to have one place or doctor responsible for their primary care and for coordinating all of their care. Similarly, there was substantial public support for wider adoption of health information technology, like computerized medical records and sharing information electronically with other doctors as a means of improving patient care. Nine of 10 adults wanted easy access to their own medical records, and thought it was important that all their doctors have such access as well.

Those surveyed also reported problems with access to health carenearly three out of four (73%) had a difficult time getting timely doctors' appointments, phone advice, or after-hours care without having to go to the emergency room. Although the uninsured were the most likely to report problems getting timely care without going to the emergency room, 26 percent of adults with health insurance also said it was difficult to get same- or next- day appointments when they were sick. And 39 percent of insured adults said it was hard to get through to their doctors on the phone when they needed them.

The Commission report, Organizing The U.S. Health Care Delivery System For High Performance, outlines strategies that could help lead to a better health care system with higher quality and better efficiency:


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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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