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Michael Levin: Deloitte Survey of Health Consumers Offers Insights for Integrative Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Michael Levin: Deloitte Survey of Health Consumers Offers Insights for Integrative Medicine

Summary Integrator columnist Michael Levin shares intriguing outcomes of a healthcare survey from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The authors examine opinions and practices of over 3000 citizens, identifying use of alternative healthcare services as a key identifier of behavior across a series of consumer types. The six types range from "content and compliant" to "out and about" (the most significant alt-med users) to "shop and save." Current complementary medicine use represents a fraction of the openness expressed by consumers.  Paul Keckley, PhD, co-author and director of the Center was formerly the head of integrative medicine planning for Vanderbilt University. Levin is correct: there is much here to ponder about integrative care and the changing nature of the healthcare consumer.
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Integrator columnist Michael Levin is a past executive in both conventional pharmaceutical and dietary supplement firms. Levin frequently write on natural products topics. Here he alerts readers to a fascinating new study from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

  _________________________________

Deloitte's 2008 Survey: Messages for Integrative Medicine

- Michael Levin, Health Business Strategies

Image
Michael Levin, Health Business Strategies
A quick review of Deloitte’s fascinating 2008 (Survey of Health Care Consumers reveals these interesting statistics:


  • 40% of the population surveyed are open to using an alternative treatment approach
  • 38% are open to using alternative providers
  • 32% might use an alternative therapy as a substitute for a prescription drug
  • 2 in 3 are interested in participating in a wellness program to improve their health and/or save money, and
  • 1 in 4 say they would pay more.

In the introduction, Deloitte's authors write that "the conceptual framework upon which this research is built reflects what we consider to be the five major domains of health care consumer activity: use of traditional health services from medical, professionals and hospitals; use of alternative and non-conventional approaches to care; self-directed care; information seeking and financing." The authors define six segments of health care consumers and their characteristics, as noted in the table.

Segment    Percent    Characteristics 
 
Content and Compliant
  29%   Generally disengaged, satisfied, and wealthier
         
Sick and Savvy    24%   Includes the highest percentage of consumers having one or more health conditions (52%). Mean age: 49.
         
Online and Onboard    8%   High users, receptive to non-conventional interventions, self-empowering users of online tools and information.
         
Out and About    9%   Uses alternative approaches to treatment, consults alternative health care practitioners, and substitutes alternative or natural therapies for prescription medications more than other segments. 64% female.
         
Shop and Save    2%   Price-sensitive consumers of traditional medicine. Will travel outside of community for healthcare.
         
Casual and Cautious    28%   Healthiest segment, younger, least-insured group.


This executive report, based on a nationally representative sample of 3,031 adults using a web-based questionnaire (1.8% margin of error at the .95 confidence level) provides fresh new insights into healthcare consumers. For those developing and deploying new products and services, this is a must read. A PDF file of the 24 page executive summary is available here.

Michael D. Levin, Founder
Health Business Strategies
12042 SE Sunnyside Road
Clackamas, OR  97015
503-753-3568 (direct)
503-698-7565 (fax)
_________________________________

Deloitte, integrative medicine, CAM, alternative medicine
Co-author Paul keckley, PhD, former IM leader at Vanderbilt
Comment: Levin focused on openness of patients. Here are data on current behaviors:
• 20% used an alternative approach to treatment (40% are open to it)
• 12% consulted an alternative provider (38% are open to it)
• 9% substituted an alternative therapy for a prescription medication (32% are open to it)
The message to those in the integrative care and natural products communities is that these is an identified growth potential of 100% to 200% between current use and openness. In addition, the report describes some of the breakdown in physician authority for what appears to be a third of those surveyed:

  • 14% delayed a recommended treatment
  • 13% decided not to pursue a course of care altogether
  • 30% questioned their
  • physician about a treatment recommendation

Interestingly,
the director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and co-author of this study is Paul Keckley, PhD. Keckley was instrumental, in 2004-2005, in developing the integrative medicine program at Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt's medical school is now a member of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

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