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Cost of Healthcare Tops the List of Americans' Healthcare Concerns; Siemens Medical Solutions Releases Consumer Survey Results

Cost of Healthcare Tops the List of Americans' Healthcare Concerns; Siemens Medical Solutions Releases Consumer Survey Results

MALVERN, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Forty-one percent of Americans say their greatest hospital healthcare concern is cost, while 25 percent cite quality of care. This and other consumer attitudes and concerns about healthcare were released from a survey commissioned by Siemens Medical Solutions, one of the world's largest suppliers of innovative medical technologies and healthcare information systems. The survey was conducted among a sample of more than 2,000 Americans who were either hospitalized or responsible for assisting in the admittance of another person to the hospital within the last five years.

"In an environment where the costs of healthcare are increasingly passed on to the consumer, it is not surprising that a high percentage of respondents selected cost over quality as their biggest concern with hospital healthcare," said Dr. Erich R. Reinhardt, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Medical Solutions worldwide. "Reducing the cost of healthcare is of utmost concern to many Americans - and creating a sense of urgency among lawmakers. However, the desired decrease in healthcare costs requires a fundamental change, namely simplification of complexities through a standardized information infrastructure that in turn lessens the administrative burden placed on providers."

Along with highlighting Americans' growing concerns regarding the costs and quality of healthcare, the survey also revealed that 43 percent of respondents blame medical errors on overworked staff or staff shortages. Three in 10 of those surveyed cite lack of communication amongst hospital departments as the second largest cause of medical errors.

Sixty-three percent of survey respondents agreed it would be "very valuable" to have their complete medical history stored electronically in one computer file that can be accessed anywhere in a hospital. Among other information technology solutions, Siemens currently offers electronic health record (EHR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems that provide caregivers with timely, accurate decision-making abilities that can have life-saving implications.

Consumers surveyed are also eager to see EHRs better utilized. In fact, 26 percent believe that EHRs are already available to them, and an additional 46 percent indicate they believe EHRs will be implemented for admissions and usage at their local hospitals within the next five years. Although consumers want to see EHRs implemented, nearly 58 percent of those surveyed are concerned about the privacy of their medical records.

The Siemens healthcare survey also confirmed that the attitudes of Americans 65 and older differ from younger audiences when it comes to trust that their physicians have complete information on their medical histories. Interestingly, while nearly one-fifth of those surveyed did not think their doctor has all the necessary and important information regarding their medical history, 89 percent of those over age 65 believe their doctor has all the necessary and important information about their history.

"As a global leader in medical and information technology solutions, we must stay in tune with consumer perceptions and concerns in all the markets we serve because healthcare is ultimately a local business," said Thomas N. McCausland, president of the Customer Solutions Group, Siemens Medical Solutions, USA. "Siemens Medical Solutions is committed to developing new technologies that address the concerns of providers and consumers alike. Many of our customers are already experiencing today the benefits of information technology solutions, such as electronic health records, computerized order entry systems and bar-code technology."

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