Business Group Finds Individuals not Helping to Improve Health Care

December 4, 2008 ( - A relatively low percentage of individuals surveyed say they "very actively" manage their chronic health conditions, according to research by the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health (DFWBGH).
In addition, survey respondents did not uniformly engage in behaviors that lead to productive office visits. Only one in five (20%) respondents say that they always bring a list of questions to physician visits, and only 40% always bring a list of current prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and supplements to doctor visits.
Respondents indicate a willingness to receive and use valid comparative quality data in choosing a physician – almost 90% of respondents said they would be interested in receiving reliable quality data on local doctors – however, only one in five respondents (21%) report they would select the more highly rated physician if required to choose between a doctor who is familiar and one who is more highly rated in quality reports.

The survey also found significant opportunities exist to improve consumer awareness of diabetes risk factors, prevention, and appropriate care. According to the news release, diabetes-related survey findings included:

  • Consumers are generally able to identify the most important risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight and family history, but are less knowledgeable about other important risk factors, such as increased age, ethnic heritage, smoking, pregnancy, alcohol consumption, and heart condition, but 39% of respondents doubted that diabetes could be prevented.
  • Nearly three out of four respondents (73%) know that HbA1C and blood sugar tests are important for managing diabetes, but far fewer are aware of other important tests, such as foot exams (43%), LDL cholesterol tests (40%), and eye exams (32%).

The research was conducted for DFWBGH’s Partnership for Peak Healthcare Performance project, which was created in 2007 to “improve the quality of care for prevalent chronic illnesses and instill transparency into the local health care system.”It was funded by Paris-based pharmaceutical firm sanofi-aventis, which, according to the drugmaker’s Web site, marketsAmaryl, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes.

More than 1,500 Dallas-Fort Worth area employees participated in the survey that is available here .