By the Numbers: Where Patients Access Care

06.27.16

Demand for health care services is on the rise. Skyrocketing obesity rates, increased prevalence of diabetes and other chronic diseases, and an influx of patients newly insured under the Affordable Care Act are just a few of the public health factors that contribute to the demand. Unfortunately, a decline in the supply of new physicians threatens to create a shortfall that could affect millions.

To understand the role CVS Health can play in making health care accessible for more Americans, we recently polled 2,000 registered voters to understand how they use the health care system. Conducted in partnership with Morning Consult, our public opinion poll revealed the behaviors and patient needs that are important to consider as health care continues to evolve. Here are a few of the insights: 

The Majority of Respondents Report Having a Primary Care Provider, but Gaps Remain

Eighty percent of respondents say that they have a primary care provider (PCP). Not surprisingly, older respondents were more likely to have a PCP (90 percent of those over the age of 65, compared to just 70 percent of those aged 18-29). Those without a PCP cited cost and lack of insurance as the top reason they did not have one. Finding a provider was challenging for nearly a third of respondents, who said they had experienced difficulty finding a PCP at some point in their lives.

Opportunities Exist to Help People Enter Lower-cost Care Settings

Even among those with a PCP, many respondents (34 percent) report that they also use higher-cost options like emergency rooms for health care services, while fewer (15 percent) say that they chose lower-cost retail health clinics. But ERs are enormously costly – the median ER visit costs 40 percent more than what the average American pays in monthly rent.1 This represents an enormous opportunity to encourage patients to access care in lower-cost settings, including MinuteClinic, which is a cost-effective alternative for acute care that can also connect patients to primary and specialty care providers.

A recent Health Affairs Blog post highlighted the value of retail clinics like MinuteClinic. They note that these clinics provide quick, affordable access to care and are an underused resource that could help reduce health care costs for patients and communities in the long run.

CVS Health can help connect people to the services they need and we are working to help close gaps in care:

  • We have formed 70 clinical affiliations with major health systems in the United States, which help increase access to care and improve medication adherence for patients.
  • Our more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations specialize in family health care and can diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses. Prevention and wellness services include screening and monitoring for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, tuberculosis (TB) testing, contraceptive care, vaccinations and smoking cessation. These services are available seven days a week with no appointment necessary.

More than 30 million patient visits have already occurred at MinuteClinic locations, and we will continue to expand services to meet the needs of patients across the country. Learn more about MinuteClinic.

1 Source: National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3584078/