Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Low-Income Patients Want More Health Information, Greater Engagement with Providers

October 23, 2013

New survey of Californians identifies approaches for communicating and connecting with patients to improve health

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As millions of low-income patients gain health coverage for the first time, a report released today by Blue Shield of California Foundation examines the opportunities and challenges in engaging this long-underserved population. “Building Better Health Care for Low-Income Californians” finds that clear, accessible information and open communication are key building blocks for forging strong patient-provider relationships, producing engaged patients and ultimately improving health outcomes.

“We must bring patients into the conversation if we want to transform health care in California and across the country,” said Peter V. Long, PhD, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. “The findings of this research make clear why communication is so important and provide a roadmap to better engage patients as our health system continues to evolve.”

The report is based on an extensive statewide survey of low-income Californians, which found that just 28 percent feel they have all the easily comprehensible health information they need to make good decisions about their care. The rest, seven in 10, want more information from their providers if it is clear and accessible. Absent that, many turn to less trusted sources. Nearly 40 percent rely on media and the internet when they have health questions or concerns, the same as seek out physicians and other providers.

The report recommends strategies to improve communication and connection. It notes that many patients today are technologically savvy in ways that healthcare facilities and practices should utilize: Seven in 10 low-income Californians with email or cell phone texting capabilities are interested in using them to communicate with their providers.

And the survey results show the importance of a strong patient-provider relationship. Low-income patients who report having such a bond are far more likely to rate their quality of care positively, to feel that they have a voice in their care and to feel more confident in their decision-making ability.

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective, and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. Blue Shield of California Foundation is an independent Licensee of the Blue Shield Association. Visit: www.blueshieldcafoundation.org

SOURCE Blue Shield of California Foundation

Source: PR Newswire