In a recent TeleVox survey, one in two Americans indicated that they don’t feel their overall personal health is in good shape. One in four are, at best, struggling to be healthy. Those statistics are part of an overall picture of poor health in America that has come into greater focus with each passing year.
The reason? In its most simplistic terms, it’s because we’re not taking the wellness and preventive actions we need to take to maintain our health. And whether it’s because of a lack of communication from healthcare providers or a lack of attention to that communication among patients, there’s a significant “engagement gap” in America that means we are not connecting the dots from provider recommendations to patient action.
Need more proof? Consider this insight from the Department of Health and Human Services. They report that 67% of Americans are currently overweight or obese and 27% have high blood pressure. Those troubling percentages can easily be tied to the fact that 96% don’t include proper vegetable servings as part of their diets and 40% don’t get the exercise they need – two very common recommendations that would go a long way toward reducing those obesity and high blood pressure figures.
Engagement Gap in Medication Adherence
The engagement gap is present when it comes to taking medications for chronic diseases. Almost 50% of adults age 18 or older have at least one of these six commonly reported chronic illnesses: cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, cancer or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, many of us aren’t taking medications for those illnesses as we should, contributing to nearly 125,000 deaths from these six diseases in the U.S. each year.
Engagement Gap in Wellness Recommendations
Doctors’ instructions around lifestyle changes fall victim to the engagement gap as well. For example, a 2008 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, examined the lifestyles of more than 9,000 cancer survivors and found that only a few had made the switch to a healthful lifestyle. Although most had given up smoking, only 1 out of every 20 survivors was following all of the recommended actions to maintain their health.
Perhaps the engagement gap can best be illustrated by these two very sobering statistics:
- Five out of six (83%) of Americans admit that they don’t follow the treatment plans their doctors prescribe or advise.
- Healthcare professionals say that 95% of patients aren’t following their advice. And they’d only give 1 in 20 patients an A grade for following treatment plans.
There is a dangerous disconnect between today’s patients and their providers. Stay tuned to the Blogover the coming weeks, as we’ll dig into WHY there is such an engagement gap between providers and patients.