Mending Healthcare in America 2020: Consumers + Cost

Welcome to the first chapter of survey results. The survey reveals attitudes on breakdowns in the healthcare system, the risks created by inconsistencies in care and cost, and priorities over the next few years to make it better.

The independent survey, commissioned by Wolters Kluwer, involved nearly 2,000 consumers, nurses, doctors, and healthcare executives in the U.S. looking at how differences in care and cost affect healthcare choices – on the part of individuals and health systems. In 2020 and an election year, the health survey identifies the top trends that will shape priorities over the next few years – for care teams, hospital leaders, health systems and consumers.

Rising Healthcare Costs are Top Priority for Patients and Providers

The number of people across the world who think like healthcare consumers has been changing over time and many are making decisions based on costs and care because they are paying more than ever before. According to this Wolters Kluwer, Health survey, 73% of those surveyed in the US will consider healthcare a main factor when they vote in 2020.

In the midst of the national stage, hospital leaders, those on the front lines of care, and consumers are making hard decisions and assessing their priorities in light of healthcare policies and rising costs. With the potential impact to revenue, reputation and patient safety, no hospital or health system can afford inaction or to ignore increasingly savvy consumers trying to manage their own health.

Mending Healthcare in America 2020: Consumers + Costs | Wolters Kluwer Health Survey

Key Takeaways

Variations in care and cost is a global epidemic.

The survey reveals almost everyone who comes into contact with the healthcare system knows that differences in care and costs exist depending on location, health system or even department within the same hospital.

Consumers, hospital executives, physicians and nurses identify substantial differences in costs and in the ways that healthcare is delivered.

98% of respondents to our health survey

98% of all respondents agree that there are variations across locations, health systems and even among departments in the same hospital.

When people recognize that differences in care and cost exist, they make hard choices.


78% of respondents to our health survey

Consumers are willing to shop around for better care: 78% are likely to travel past the hospital closest to them to one farther away that has a better reputation.

43% of respondents to our health survey

43% have not moved forward with medical treatment such as a procedure, medication and/or therapy, because of a lack of trust in the care they were getting.


79% of respondents to our health survey

The majority of physicians and nurses (79%) say the cost to the patient influences the treatment choices or recommendations the provider makes.

Doctor reviewing patient records on a mobile device

Beyond the financial impact of variability, differences in care create risks for patients and for hospitals & health systems.

Those who know healthcare best – the people working inside the system day-to-day – were asked to rank the greatest potential risks posed.

Here is what topped the list:

1) Patient gets sub-optimal treatment or the wrong treatment and/or medications because of incomplete or incorrect information.
2) Care teams are not aligned on best care approach or management for the patient.
3) The impact of a poor patient experience.

Consumers see these variations in care caused by loss, omission or failure to share information. These lead to mistakes in treatment and medications, and costly misalignment of the care “team” on the best approach to treat the patient.

Perception of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology in future healthcare.

The hospital C-suite has a unique vantage point of the care divide across the hospital or health system.

How do they, as well as clinicians and consumers surveyed feel about whether it will fill some of the gaps?

Download the full survey report to learn more

Root Causes of Variability

"Why are doctors and nurses thinking about costs? I think as front line caregivers we are trying to be stewards of the system for costs, but we’re not always armed with enough information. If we already have that piece of information, we can provide choices and alternatives. We could be much more transparent with prices."

Dr. Peter Bonis,
Chief Medical Officer of Clinical Effectiveness,
Wolters Kluwer, Health

Doctor discussing treatment options with a patient

Mending Healthcare in America report

Looking for Additional Insights?
Download our Exclusive Report - Mending Healthcare in America 2020: Consumers + Costs

Download the initial report brief today and we'll send you the complete report when it is released in 2020, along with additional survey-related updates.

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