WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After a 2018 of profound uncertainty—from possible invalidation of the Affordable Care Act to Brexit—some things remain unchanged, and US physician concerns about healthcare affordability and wider access was key among them. That’s the finding of the fourth-annual healthcare predictions survey from InCrowd, pioneer of the real-time market intelligence platform for the life sciences.
Healthcare affordability was overwhelmingly ranked as the most important change that US physicians would like to see in the 2019 survey, prioritized by 71% of respondents. Forty-one percent ranked improving wider access to available therapies as a critical change they would like to see. By comparison, speed and breadth of new drug development were first for only 15% and 5% of respondents respectively in the 2019 survey.
“There are millions of patients in this country with chronic illness who cannot afford their necessary medications, which is a crime in the richest country in the world,” said a specialist from New York.
The relative importance of the five ranked goals remained the same throughout the past four years of the annual survey, with affordability named the top concern. Cost control was the dominant refrain in 2019 survey, with 95% of respondents citing specific efforts to improve costs as changes they would like to see in 2019, including improving insurance coverage (12%), price transparency (9%), generic availability (7%), regulations (5%), and copays (1%). Indeed, respondents who rank other factors as more important than access and affordability often did so because these factors ultimately would improve cost to patients, albeit circuitously, according to verbatim remarks offered to explain their rankings.
“Side effects increase the cost of treatment, and improved drug efficacy will help decrease the cost to patient overall,” said a California-based primary care physician who ranked creating new therapies with improved safety and efficacy as the top change needed in the industry.
Other key 2019 annual healthcare predictions findings show:
- Cynicism about change. Only 32% of respondents predicted that access to care would improve in 2019, with three of the top ranked predictions threatening to reduce the number of patients with health insurance in the US. On costs, 82% of respondents believe healthcare costs to be unlikely to improve in 2019.
- Division over who is to blame for inertia. When asked what changes they realistically predict in the industry in 2019, a majority of respondents—60%—predicted no change. Among this majority, verbatim remarks were divided on who was responsible for industry inertia, with one group voicing sentiment that industry practices were driven by greed, while another group noted the lack of incentives for industry change given the present political climate.
- “Prescribing smart” is viewed as a key way to help. Whether it is by staying informed on drug prices (39%), or limiting the use of non-generic drugs (38%) and expensive tests (14%) when possible, physicians in the 2019 survey saw a clear role for themselves in helping drive affordability.
- Less spending on DTC advertising was top citied potential initiative for cost-savings, cited by 52% of respondents, followed by shortening or curtailing efforts to extend patient life (21%).
“In a changing healthcare landscape, our 2019 predictions survey shows that unfortunately physicians perceive little change in the two most important parameters impacting US healthcare—and that they are overwhelmingly eager to address them in a lasting way,” said Diane Hayes, Ph.D., president and co-founder of InCrowd.
The 5-minute MicroSurvey on physicians’ healthcare predictions for 2019 included data from 200 US clinicians, including 100 primary care physicians and 100 specialists, who responded between December 20 – 22, 2018. They reflected a range of specialties and treatment settings with 56% in office-based practices, 25% in academic hospitals, and 19% in community hospitals. Respondents had a mean of 13 years in practice and average age of 44 years old.
InCrowd is the pioneer of the real-time, mobile, MicroSurvey solution delivering top US life science firms agile, primary market research. InCrowd has access to a 1.8 million “Crowd” of healthcare professionals worldwide, reached in 20 languages. Serving more than 300 brands, InCrowd accelerates market research and time-to-respond to insights to ensure effective brand management and strong brand health.