According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Harvard School of Public Health, 40% of people believe that the quality of health care has gotten worse over the past five years, with only 17% believing it has improved. Thirty-eight percent think that the quality has been stagnant.
Americans are concerned about the quality of health care to the extent that 48% of US residents state that they are concerned about the safety of the medical attention they and their families receive. Fifty-five percent say they are dissatisfied with the quality of health care in America, which is up 11% from four years ago.
When asked to state what subjects comprised quality in health care, respondents came to no general consensus, with cost (14%), doctor quality (13%), and total access (9%) all being named.
The number of Americans who have actually experienced problems is lower, however. According to the study, only 34% of respondents state that they or a family member have experienced a medical error at some point in their life. People with chronic health conditions are much more likely to have experienced an error, according to the report.
Not surprisingly, 92% of Americans believe that such errors should be reported, and 63% thought the information should be released publicly. Eighty-eight percent thought that doctors should be required by law to tell a patient if a preventable medical error resulted in serious harm in the patient’s case.
For more information on the report, see http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/pomr111704pkg.cfm .