Poll: Consumer backlash against healthcare will continue

Pharmaceutical Representative

A new survey by Rochester, NY-based Harris Interactive reveals that public perception of the pharmaceutical, health insurance, managed care and hospital industries continues to decline. The survey, which was conducted by telephone among a nationwide sample of 1,014 adults, measures how many people believe particular industries are doing a good or bad job of serving their customers.

A new survey by Rochester, NY-based Harris Interactive reveals that public perception of the pharmaceutical, health insurance, managed care and hospital industries continues to decline. The survey, which was conducted by telephone among a nationwide sample of 1,014 adults, measures how many people believe particular industries are doing a good or bad job of serving their customers.

In the three years prior to this year's study, public perceptions of much of the healthcare industry fell dramatically. The percentage of those who said the industries do a good job of serving consumers dropped as follows:


•Â Hospitals: from 77% to 67%.


•Â Pharmaceutical or drug companies: from 79% to 59%.


•Â Health insurance companies: from 55% to 39%.


•Â Managed care companies: from 51% to 29%.

In comparison, this year's data show relatively little change. Only the proportion of respondents who indicated that hospitals are doing a good job changed significantly (down from 72% to 67%).

Why ratings change

Regarding the health insurance industry, data show that rating declines may be in part due to physicians imparting negative attitudes toward managed care to their patients and friends, patients communicating their bad experiences rather than good ones to others, and consumers absorbing greater costs for insurance and incurring higher out-of-pocket expenses for healthcare services.

"For those working in healthcare or any of the different healthcare industries, the key question is, of course, 'Where do the numbers go from here?'" said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive. "And the answer is, 'We don't know,' or 'It depends.' Quite possibly, these low ratings have bottomed out and will improve. But on the whole, we doubt it. The forces that have damaged public perception of health insurers, managed care and the pharmaceutical companies are still in place and are, we believe, likely to inflict more damage over the next few years." PR