Two-fifths of US adults report experiencing unsafe, wasteful or poorly coordinated health care

New York, NY, August 17, 2006-- Patients, who experience the health care system on a first-hand basis, find much that could be improved. According to a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, a surprisingly high proportion of Americans--42 percent--reported experiencing poorly coordinated, inefficient, or unsafe care at some time during the past two years, including unnecessary care or treatment recommended by a doctor, failure to provide important information or test results to other doctors or nurses, medical errors, or duplicate tests.

Overall, the survey found strong public support for efforts to improve care coordination, and a shared belief that expanded use of information technology and teams could improve the quality of care. An overwhelming majority--92%--said it is either very or somewhat important to have a medical home--one place or doctor responsible for providing and coordinating all of their medical care.

"Coordination and information are vital to improving our health care system. When care isn't coordinated there is a higher risk for unsafe care and duplicative or wasteful medical spending," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "This survey shows that patients place high value on having a medical home that coordinates all of a patient's care and provides better access to information and care. Unfortunately, the reality is that too many patients have short-term relationships with their physicians and rarely have easy access to their own medical records."

The nationally representative survey of over 1,000 adults reveals widespread concerns about the affordability of health care, access to quality care, and the safety and efficiency of care. The survey was conducted in June by Harris Interactive for the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System.

"Rather than thinking more care is better care, patients are quite perceptive about was

Contact: Mary Mahon
Commonwealth Fund

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