Patients, physicians and employers all have a different definition of healthcare value, survey finds

Nurse-Patient-Hospital-Credit: Getty/monkeybusinessimages
Patients often conflate good service with high-quality care, according to a new survey. (Getty/monkeybusinessimages)

Patients, physicians and employers have very different perspectives on what drives value in healthcare, according to a new survey. 

University of Utah Health commissioned a national survey of 5,031 patients, 687 doctors and 538 employers to determine how each views the healthcare experience. The three groups broadly agreed that healthcare must deliver value, but the definition of it varied significantly, according to the survey

“If we agree as a country that we must provide higher quality healthcare, a better patient experience and [cut costs], then we all need to understand these different viewpoints and definitions,” Robert Pendleton, M.D., the academic health system's chief medical quality officer, said in an announcement

Survey participants were asked to choose five statements that reflect what they value most in healthcare. The vast majority of patient responses (90%) differed from those of physicians. 

Patients also said affordable out-of-pocket costs indicated value. But just 32% of surveyed patients cited personal health improvement, which indicates that providers could spend more time on improving access and cost to affect perception of value. 

RELATED: Physicians feel sidelined in value-based care discussion 

Though patients were concerned about costs, a majority of both patients and employers said they were either "somewhat" or "extremely satisfied" with what they personally paid for healthcare over the past year. Fewer physicians (37%) were satisfied with what patients paid. 

The survey also found that patients often conflate good service with high-quality care. 

RELATED: Dignity Health aims to improve patient experience throughout care 'journey' 

Doctors should take advantage of patient experience data to improve care, including using reviews from online sources like Yelp. A recent study found that patient experiences may be linked to their safety. 

Just 12% of patients and 7% physicians selected service as central to quality care, despite frequently naming service statements in their list of keys to value, according to the survey.