University of Utah Health announced results of the Value in Health Care Survey, a landmark study that examines the viewpoints of patients, physicians and employers—three stakeholder groups that receive, provide, and pay for health care. The study explores how these groups perceive value and prioritize quality, service and cost. 

The national survey of 5,031 patients, 687 physicians and 538 employers, commissioned by U of Utah Health and conducted by Leavitt Partners, indicates that while most stakeholders agree our health care system must deliver value—what that means concretely is unclear. Several key misalignments and surprising points of convergence were revealed, begging the question: Without clarity on how patients, physicians and employers define "value", how can we move forward?

"If we agree as a country that we must provide higher quality health care, a better patient experience, and at a lower cost, then we all need to understand these different viewpoints and definitions," said Dr. Bob Pendleton, U of U Health's chief medical quality officer. The Value in Health Care Survey makes clear some of the specific ways we lack shared perspectives but also suggest points of convergence that can be used to map a path forward to achieve a value-focused health care system."

Following are key findings of the Survey:

For patients, there was one clear top value statement and it related to cost: "My out-of-pocket cost is affordable."

One-third of patients assigned responsibility for keeping out-of-pocket costs low to themselves while another third assigned responsibility to insurers/brokers. Only a handful of patients chose physicians or employers. Physicians, by contrast, held insurers/brokers most responsible and patients the least, while a third of employers selected themselves. The remaining two-thirds selected insurers and health systems.

Across the value statements, neither patients, physicians nor employers assigned responsibility to the employer, suggesting they don't recognize the impact that employers have on employees' health via the medical benefits plans they offer.

This is one example demonstrating that better understanding of how value in health care is perceived differently across groups is imperative to achieving a value-focused health care delivery system. The results of the Value in Health Care Survey should prompt valuable conversations that will help advance health care transformation in a meaningful way.

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