WEDNESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. health care
system is in need of a major overhaul, according to 72 percent of
American adults who took part in a national survey.
That opinion reflects respondents' concerns about lack of access
to health care, poor coordination of care and increasing costs,
according to researchers at the Commonwealth Fund, which released
the survey results Wednesday.
The survey found that 71 percent of participants said they had
trouble gaining access to needed health care, including being
unable to get timely doctors' appointments or advice from their
doctors on the phone, or receiving after-hours care without going
to a hospital emergency department.
More than half (54 percent) said they'd received wasteful care
and 47 percent said they had experienced poorly coordinated care.
About 20 percent said they or a family member suffered an infection
or complication as a result of medical care, or said that a health
care provider made a medical or surgical error.
For most, the future of health care seems uncertain, with 74
percent of respondents saying they're worried they won't receive
high-quality care when they need it, or that they won't be able to
afford their medical bills if they suffer a serious health
"It's not surprising that people worry about the future, given the problems they are currently experiencing in the health care system," Cathy Schoen, report co-author and Commonwealth Fund senior vice president, said in a foundation news release.
"Health care is too often unaffordable, hard to get when needed, and wasteful or poorly coordinated. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act is focused on addressing many of these issues, with provisions encouraging the kind of health care people want -- care that is affordable, accessible, patient-centered and well-coordinated, with clinicians working together in teams," she explained.
The survey also found that 88 percent of participants want their
doctors to use electronic medical records and 92 percent believe
it's important or very important for doctors to share information
electronically with other doctors. Many respondents said they want
to use technology to manage their own health care -- such as making
appointments online or having access to their medical records --
but for now, only 14 percent of those with Internet access can get
their medical records online and only 20 percent can schedule
appointments electronically or email their doctors.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers a
guide to health care quality.