Public Attitudes to Hospitals, Pharmaceuticals and Managed Care Companies Improve Significantly

Best numbers on 'serving consumers' since 2002



May 11, 2005, 01:00 ET from Harris Interactive

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year at this time, Harris
 Interactive(R) presents a cross section of U.S. adults a list of different
 industries and asks whether they are generally doing "a good job or a bad job
 of serving their consumers." In this year's survey the industry which gets the
 most positive and lowest negative replies is the supermarket industry. Fully
 92 percent of adults think supermarkets generally do a good job and only eight
 percent think they do a bad job, giving them a net positive score (i.e. good
 job minus bad job) of 84 percentage points.
     Harris Interactive first asked these questions in 1997. Four healthcare
 industries have been included in the list -- hospitals, pharmaceuticals,
 health insurance and managed care -- and they have been among the most
 volatile of all the industries covered. Only the oil industry has changed as
 much.
     In this year's survey, pharmaceuticals' net score (calculated as good job
 minus bad job) has improved by 17 points. Furthermore, managed care companies
 and hospitals have each improved their net scores by 10 points. However,
 pharmaceuticals, managed care and health insurance have only recovered a
 modest amount of their big decline in public approval over the full eight
 years of these measures.
     These are some of the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted
 by Harris Interactive among 1,010 U.S. adults between April 5 and 10, 2005.
     Hospitals now have a net score of 59 points positive (79 percent good job
 minus 20 percent bad job), a 10 point improvement since last year and their
 best score in all eight years of this series. It is interesting, perhaps
 surprising, that hospitals score so well when increased hospital prices have,
 for most of the last few years, been a major contributor to increased
 healthcare costs. However, most people have not had to pay these higher prices
 themselves.
     Pharmaceuticals now have a net score of 13 points positive (56 percent
 good job minus 43 percent bad job). This is a substantial improvement since
 last year's net score of 4 points negative. However, it is still far below the
 overwhelmingly positive net scores the industry enjoyed in 1997 (60 points
 positive) and 1998 (50 points positive).
     Managed care companies still have a net negative score of 13 points, but
 this is an improvement from the negative 23 points last year. This is the
 sixth consecutive years of negative scores. Only in 1997 and 1998 did managed
 care have net positive scores.
     Over the years the distinction between managed care and health insurance
 has greatly diminished because most insurance companies (and all the larger
 ones) now provide HMOs, PPOs and other managed care services. At times the
 ratings of managed care have been better than health insurance; sometimes they
 have been worse. This year health insurance has a negative 19 points score (40
 percent good job minus 59 percent bad job), virtually unchanged from last
 year.
 
     Why have the scores changed?
     Surveys are much better at measuring change than explaining it. However,
 we know that large changes have occurred when prices increase sharply, when
 the media have run a large number of negative stories about an industry, or
 when the public experiences change.
     As gasoline prices rise, the oil industry's ratings fall. The public's
 attitudes to smoking and those who promote it explain the low scores of the
 tobacco industry. The pharmaceutical industry's reputation fell like a stone
 as their prices and, in particular, the out-of-pocket costs paid by consumers
 rose sharply between 1997 and 2004. Recently drug costs have been rising more
 slowly. It is also possible that the industry's advertising campaigns have
 also had some effect.
     The improvement in the (still very low) score of managed care companies
 may result from a decline in all news, and especially unfavorable news, about
 managed care, as the public debate has focused on Medicare reform, the
 Medicare drug benefit and the trend toward consumer-directed health plans.
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
          Industries Doing Good Job/Bad Job of Serving Their Consumers
 "Do you think  ... generally do a good or bad job of serving their consumers?"
     Base: All Respondents Assigned (Variable Base)
 
                                  Good Job   Bad Job   Not Sure/ Good Job Minus
                                                       Refused      Bad Job
     Supermarkets             %      92         8         *           84
     Airlines                 %      80        18         2           62
     Computer hardware
      companies               %      84        10         6           74
     Packaged food companies  %      83        16         1           67
     Hospitals                %      79        20         1           59
     Computer software
      companies               %      81        14         4           67
     Banks                    %      78        21         *           57
     Electric and gas
      utilities               %      75        25         -           50
     Online search engines    %      79        11         9           68
     Internet service
      providers               %      72        21         7           51
     Car manufacturers        %      66        32         2           34
     Life insurance companies %      70        26         4           44
     Online retailers         %      70        19        11           51
     Telephone companies      %      70        28         2           42
     Investment and brokerage
      firms                   %      65        30         5           35
     Cable companies          %      63        35         2           28
     Pharmaceutical and drug
      companies               %      56        43         1           13
     Managed care companies,
      such as HMOs            %      41        54         5          -13
     Health insurance
      companies               %      40        59         1          -19
     Tobacco companies        %      35        63         2          -28
     Oil companies            %      31        67         2          -36
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                Difference Between Good Job/ Bad Job By Industry
 "Do you think each of the following generally do a good or bad job of serving
                               their consumers?"
     Base: All Adults
                                                                      Changes
                                                                    1997- 2004-
                            1997 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2005  2005
                              %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %
     Supermarkets            N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  74   79   84   N/A   +5
     Computer hardware
      companies              71*  70   70   71    49  57   64   74   +3   +10
     Online search engines   N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  68   N/A  N/A
     Computer software
      companies              71*  71   71   72   48   57   62   67   -4    +5
     Packaged food companies N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  58   62   67   N/A   +5
     Airlines                N/A  66   45   15   47   40   61   62   -4    +1
     Hospitals               57   50   48   41   56   53   49   59   +2   +10
     Banks                   52   46   49   46   54   50   52   57   +5    +5
     Online retailers        N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  51   N/A  N/A
     Internet service
      providers              N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  51   N/A  N/A
     Electric and gas
      utilities              N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  50   N/A  N/A
     Life insurance
      companies              35   39   39   36   34   29   27   44   +9   +17
     Telephone companies     61   53   32   27   22   20   17   42   -19  +25
     Investment and
      brokerage firms        N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  35   N/A  N/A
     Car manufacturers       44   44   40   40   41   38   44   34   -10  -10
     Cable companies         N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  28   N/A  N/A
     Pharmaceutical and
      drug companies         60   50   24   20   30    4   -4   13   -47  +17
     Managed care companies
      such as HMOs           13    3  -27  -30  -12  -23  -23  -13   -26  +10
     Health insurance
      companies              13    1  -15  -19   13  -12  -20  -19   -32   +1
     Tobacco companies      -28  -28  -34  -37  -36  -32  -30  -28     -   +2
     Oil companies           24   38  -13  -39   -6   -6  -25  -36   -60  -11
 
     Notes:
      (1) *In 1997 "computer companies" were rated together (i.e., hardware and
          software companies were not measured separately).
          N/A= Not Asked
      (2) The trends for airlines are from 1998, as they were not included in
          the 1997 survey.
 
      A downloadable PDF of the Harris Interactive Health Care News can be
 found at: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_healthcare.asp.
 
     Methodology
     The Harris Poll(R) was conducted by telephone within the United States
 between April 5 and 10, 2005, among a nationwide cross section of 1,010 adults
 aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and
 number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where necessary
 to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
     In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population
 had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g.,
 for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result
 from these factors.
      These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com ), the 15th
 largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester,
 N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting
 with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and
 application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based
 research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research
 to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
     Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and
 technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned
 subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com ), Paris-based
 Novatris (http://www.novatris.com ), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan,
 through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research
 and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an
 independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE
 M/F/D/V.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com .
 
      Press Contacts:
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive
    ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year at this time, Harris
 Interactive(R) presents a cross section of U.S. adults a list of different
 industries and asks whether they are generally doing "a good job or a bad job
 of serving their consumers." In this year's survey the industry which gets the
 most positive and lowest negative replies is the supermarket industry. Fully
 92 percent of adults think supermarkets generally do a good job and only eight
 percent think they do a bad job, giving them a net positive score (i.e. good
 job minus bad job) of 84 percentage points.
     Harris Interactive first asked these questions in 1997. Four healthcare
 industries have been included in the list -- hospitals, pharmaceuticals,
 health insurance and managed care -- and they have been among the most
 volatile of all the industries covered. Only the oil industry has changed as
 much.
     In this year's survey, pharmaceuticals' net score (calculated as good job
 minus bad job) has improved by 17 points. Furthermore, managed care companies
 and hospitals have each improved their net scores by 10 points. However,
 pharmaceuticals, managed care and health insurance have only recovered a
 modest amount of their big decline in public approval over the full eight
 years of these measures.
     These are some of the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted
 by Harris Interactive among 1,010 U.S. adults between April 5 and 10, 2005.
     Hospitals now have a net score of 59 points positive (79 percent good job
 minus 20 percent bad job), a 10 point improvement since last year and their
 best score in all eight years of this series. It is interesting, perhaps
 surprising, that hospitals score so well when increased hospital prices have,
 for most of the last few years, been a major contributor to increased
 healthcare costs. However, most people have not had to pay these higher prices
 themselves.
     Pharmaceuticals now have a net score of 13 points positive (56 percent
 good job minus 43 percent bad job). This is a substantial improvement since
 last year's net score of 4 points negative. However, it is still far below the
 overwhelmingly positive net scores the industry enjoyed in 1997 (60 points
 positive) and 1998 (50 points positive).
     Managed care companies still have a net negative score of 13 points, but
 this is an improvement from the negative 23 points last year. This is the
 sixth consecutive years of negative scores. Only in 1997 and 1998 did managed
 care have net positive scores.
     Over the years the distinction between managed care and health insurance
 has greatly diminished because most insurance companies (and all the larger
 ones) now provide HMOs, PPOs and other managed care services. At times the
 ratings of managed care have been better than health insurance; sometimes they
 have been worse. This year health insurance has a negative 19 points score (40
 percent good job minus 59 percent bad job), virtually unchanged from last
 year.
 
     Why have the scores changed?
     Surveys are much better at measuring change than explaining it. However,
 we know that large changes have occurred when prices increase sharply, when
 the media have run a large number of negative stories about an industry, or
 when the public experiences change.
     As gasoline prices rise, the oil industry's ratings fall. The public's
 attitudes to smoking and those who promote it explain the low scores of the
 tobacco industry. The pharmaceutical industry's reputation fell like a stone
 as their prices and, in particular, the out-of-pocket costs paid by consumers
 rose sharply between 1997 and 2004. Recently drug costs have been rising more
 slowly. It is also possible that the industry's advertising campaigns have
 also had some effect.
     The improvement in the (still very low) score of managed care companies
 may result from a decline in all news, and especially unfavorable news, about
 managed care, as the public debate has focused on Medicare reform, the
 Medicare drug benefit and the trend toward consumer-directed health plans.
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 1
          Industries Doing Good Job/Bad Job of Serving Their Consumers
 "Do you think  ... generally do a good or bad job of serving their consumers?"
     Base: All Respondents Assigned (Variable Base)
 
                                  Good Job   Bad Job   Not Sure/ Good Job Minus
                                                       Refused      Bad Job
     Supermarkets             %      92         8         *           84
     Airlines                 %      80        18         2           62
     Computer hardware
      companies               %      84        10         6           74
     Packaged food companies  %      83        16         1           67
     Hospitals                %      79        20         1           59
     Computer software
      companies               %      81        14         4           67
     Banks                    %      78        21         *           57
     Electric and gas
      utilities               %      75        25         -           50
     Online search engines    %      79        11         9           68
     Internet service
      providers               %      72        21         7           51
     Car manufacturers        %      66        32         2           34
     Life insurance companies %      70        26         4           44
     Online retailers         %      70        19        11           51
     Telephone companies      %      70        28         2           42
     Investment and brokerage
      firms                   %      65        30         5           35
     Cable companies          %      63        35         2           28
     Pharmaceutical and drug
      companies               %      56        43         1           13
     Managed care companies,
      such as HMOs            %      41        54         5          -13
     Health insurance
      companies               %      40        59         1          -19
     Tobacco companies        %      35        63         2          -28
     Oil companies            %      31        67         2          -36
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                Difference Between Good Job/ Bad Job By Industry
 "Do you think each of the following generally do a good or bad job of serving
                               their consumers?"
     Base: All Adults
                                                                      Changes
                                                                    1997- 2004-
                            1997 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2005  2005
                              %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %
     Supermarkets            N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  74   79   84   N/A   +5
     Computer hardware
      companies              71*  70   70   71    49  57   64   74   +3   +10
     Online search engines   N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  68   N/A  N/A
     Computer software
      companies              71*  71   71   72   48   57   62   67   -4    +5
     Packaged food companies N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  58   62   67   N/A   +5
     Airlines                N/A  66   45   15   47   40   61   62   -4    +1
     Hospitals               57   50   48   41   56   53   49   59   +2   +10
     Banks                   52   46   49   46   54   50   52   57   +5    +5
     Online retailers        N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  51   N/A  N/A
     Internet service
      providers              N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  51   N/A  N/A
     Electric and gas
      utilities              N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  50   N/A  N/A
     Life insurance
      companies              35   39   39   36   34   29   27   44   +9   +17
     Telephone companies     61   53   32   27   22   20   17   42   -19  +25
     Investment and
      brokerage firms        N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  35   N/A  N/A
     Car manufacturers       44   44   40   40   41   38   44   34   -10  -10
     Cable companies         N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  28   N/A  N/A
     Pharmaceutical and
      drug companies         60   50   24   20   30    4   -4   13   -47  +17
     Managed care companies
      such as HMOs           13    3  -27  -30  -12  -23  -23  -13   -26  +10
     Health insurance
      companies              13    1  -15  -19   13  -12  -20  -19   -32   +1
     Tobacco companies      -28  -28  -34  -37  -36  -32  -30  -28     -   +2
     Oil companies           24   38  -13  -39   -6   -6  -25  -36   -60  -11
 
     Notes:
      (1) *In 1997 "computer companies" were rated together (i.e., hardware and
          software companies were not measured separately).
          N/A= Not Asked
      (2) The trends for airlines are from 1998, as they were not included in
          the 1997 survey.
 
      A downloadable PDF of the Harris Interactive Health Care News can be
 found at: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/news/newsletters_healthcare.asp.
 
     Methodology
     The Harris Poll(R) was conducted by telephone within the United States
 between April 5 and 10, 2005, among a nationwide cross section of 1,010 adults
 aged 18 and over. Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and
 number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where necessary
 to align them with their actual proportions in the population.
     In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population
 had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g.,
 for likely voters). It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result
 from these factors.
      These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive Inc. (http://www.harrisinteractive.com ), the 15th
 largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester,
 N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting
 with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and
 application. Known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering Internet-based
 research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research
 to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
     Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and
 technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned
 subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com ), Paris-based
 Novatris (http://www.novatris.com ), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan,
 through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide, a Reston, Virginia-based research
 and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an
 independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE
 M/F/D/V.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com .
 
      Press Contacts:
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 SOURCE  Harris Interactive