United Healthcare Survey: More Americans Turn to Technology for Health Information

Many Americans want technology – such as artificial intelligence – to help make health care decisions, and a record number say they have used the internet and mobile apps to comparison shop for care, according to a new UnitedHealthcare survey.

These are some of the findings from the fourth-annual UnitedHealthcare Consumer Sentiment Survey, which examines Americans’ attitudes and opinions about multiple areas of health care, including open enrollment preparedness, technology and transparency trends and health literacy.


More Americans are turning to technology to comparison shop and access care, but few know the cost of prescription medications. A survey-record 37% of respondents said they had used the internet or mobile apps to comparison shop for health care during the past year. Among those, 39% said they changed the facility or care provider (or both) as a result.

Yet people would benefit from the wider use of resources that make pharmacy costs more transparent, as just over 10% of respondents who take prescription medications say they “always” know the cost of the drugs before leaving the doctor’s office. Meanwhile, many respondents (39%) said they would likely use telemedicine in the future to access care, a 2 percentage point increase from 2016.

Many are interested in artificial intelligence and voice-activated assistants: Nearly half (45%) of respondents said they would be interested in their physician using artificial intelligence to help with treatment decisions, while 28% said they were uninterested. Among users of voice-activated assistants, 61% said they would be interested in using this type of technology to help evaluate health care information.

Most people with health benefits say they are prepared for open enrollment, and many want vision and dental coverage options. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said they are prepared for open enrollment, including 84% of Gen-Xers and 78% of Baby Boomers, but just 69% of Millennials and 44% of Gen-Z. Nearly one in five (19%) said they are unprepared. When it comes to specialty benefits, most respondents (77%) said it was “important” to have vision and dental coverage options during open enrollment.

“Technology continues to reshape nearly every aspect of life, including how people research and access health care,” said Rebecca Madsen, chief consumer officer of UnitedHealthcare. “This survey suggests Americans are increasingly embracing technology as an important resource to improve their health and more effectively navigate the health system, while highlighting the need for further investment in new resources to help enhance the care experience and provide more effective, evidence-based clinical interventions.”

(For more information visit https://www.uhc.com/)

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