2012 survey of US health care consumers

Key findings, strategic implications

Conducted annually since 2008, Deloitte’s longitudinal study aims to give a comprehensive view of health care consumerism, a view that goes beyond conventional boundaries of health and health care.

Key findings from the 2012 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers

Since 2008, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions has annually polled up to 4,000 U.S. adult consumers about their interest in and ability to operate in a consumer health care market. These surveys queried adults in various age, health status, income, and insurance cohorts to gauge the degree to which consumers are prepared to engage with the health care system as “patients” or “consumers.” The distinctions between the two are stark; the implications are transformative — not only to the health care industry, but to every U.S. household, company, and government agency.

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Six consumer segments navigate the health care system in very different ways; significant implications for stakeholders

Health care organizations traditionally segment their market based on demographics, insurance status, or health measures. But we suggest that what matters most is behavior.

Segmentation offers insights into consumers’ behaviors and attitudes – critical information in an environment where health care is moving rapidly towards patient-centered care, which is premised upon individuals becoming more active participants in managing in their health care.

Take an in-depth look at six health care consumer segments, how they navigate the system in very different ways, and the implications for industry stakeholders.

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Health plans’ challenge: Delivering on consumer preference

Believing that health plans vary greatly in both quality and price, consumers are ready to customize and shop for insurance; however, they seek more choices and better tools to find the right fit and best value.

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Consumers’ utilization of the health care system

Satisfied with care, but thirsty for information - most consumers have primary care doctors, most people use them, and most people are satisfied with the medical services they provide, but consumers believe that quality and prices can vary greatly among hospitals.

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Rx use and life sciences innovations: Consumers’ attitudes and behaviors

Half of all consumers surveyed in 2012 said they currently took prescription medications. Adherence is high, consumers feel knowledgeable about the drugs they take, and have confidence in their effectiveness. Prescription medication users are clearly engaged in managing their care. They look for information, consider alternatives, and seek value and effectiveness.

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Information technology, social media and online resources for health care – a slow climb

Despite consumers’ high ownership levels of technology devices, their use of consumer health information technology (HIT) is low, and their interest in using emergent HIT is also relatively low.

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Satisfied with health care, but not the health care system. Deloitte's 2012 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers shows most people feel better about the health care they receive than the system as a whole—and they're ready for more high-tech solutions. Download the infographic of key findings.

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Since 2008, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions has annually polled a nationally representative sample of the U.S. adult population (up to 4,000 U.S. consumers) on behaviors, attitudes, and unmet needs in six zones:

1. Wellness and healthy living
2. Information sources
3. Traditional health services
4. Alternatives health services
5. Health insurance
6. Health policy

These online surveys queried adults in varied health status, income, and insurance cohorts to gauge the degree to which consumers are prepared to engage the health care system as “patients” or “consumers.” Results are weighted to ensure proportional representation to the nation’s population with respect to age, gender, income, race/ethnicity, and geography. There was a margin of error for national estimates of +/- 1.6 percent.

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