Cost of Healthcare Tops the List of Americans' Healthcare Concerns; Siemens Medical Solutions Releases Consumer Survey Results

February 11, 2004

MALVERN, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Forty-one percent of Americans say their greatest hospital healthcare concern is cost, while 25 percent cite quality of care. This and other consumer attitudes and concerns about healthcare were released

MALVERN, Pa., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Forty-one percent of Americans say their greatest hospital healthcare concern is cost, while 25 percent cite quality of care. This and other consumer attitudes and concerns about healthcare were released from a survey commissioned by Siemens Medical Solutions, one of the world's largest suppliers of innovative medical technologies and healthcare information systems. The survey was conducted among a sample of more than 2,000 Americans who were either hospitalized or responsible for assisting in the admittance of another person to the hospital within the last five years.

"In an environment where the costs of healthcare are increasingly passed on to the consumer, it is not surprising that a high percentage of respondents selected cost over quality as their biggest concern with hospital healthcare," said Dr. Erich R. Reinhardt, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Medical Solutions worldwide. "Reducing the cost of healthcare is of utmost concern to many Americans - and creating a sense of urgency among lawmakers. However, the desired decrease in healthcare costs requires a fundamental change, namely simplification of complexities through a standardized information infrastructure that in turn lessens the administrative burden placed on providers."

Along with highlighting Americans' growing concerns regarding the costs and quality of healthcare, the survey also revealed that 43 percent of respondents blame medical errors on overworked staff or staff shortages. Three in 10 of those surveyed cite lack of communication amongst hospital departments as the second largest cause of medical errors.

Sixty-three percent of survey respondents agreed it would be "very valuable" to have their complete medical history stored electronically in one computer file that can be accessed anywhere in a hospital. Among other information technology solutions, Siemens currently offers electronic health record (EHR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems that provide caregivers with timely, accurate decision-making abilities that can have life-saving implications.

Consumers surveyed are also eager to see EHRs better utilized. In fact, 26 percent believe that EHRs are already available to them, and an additional 46 percent indicate they believe EHRs will be implemented for admissions and usage at their local hospitals within the next five years. Although consumers want to see EHRs implemented, nearly 58 percent of those surveyed are concerned about the privacy of their medical records.

The Siemens healthcare survey also confirmed that the attitudes of Americans 65 and older differ from younger audiences when it comes to trust that their physicians have complete information on their medical histories. Interestingly, while nearly one-fifth of those surveyed did not think their doctor has all the necessary and important information regarding their medical history, 89 percent of those over age 65 believe their doctor has all the necessary and important information about their history.

"As a global leader in medical and information technology solutions, we must stay in tune with consumer perceptions and concerns in all the markets we serve because healthcare is ultimately a local business," said Thomas N. McCausland, president of the Customer Solutions Group, Siemens Medical Solutions, USA. "Siemens Medical Solutions is committed to developing new technologies that address the concerns of providers and consumers alike. Many of our customers are already experiencing today the benefits of information technology solutions, such as electronic health records, computerized order entry systems and bar-code technology."

For example, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, a Siemens customer and the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society's (HIMSS) Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence for EHR use, was able to reduce medication errors by 35 percent and decrease medication turnaround time by 52 percent through the use of an integrated clinical information system. In addition, South Carolina Heart Center, a Siemens beta customer for Soarian(R) Cardiology, has reduced the time it takes to get a cardiac cath lab report from two days to just 15 minutes.

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG with headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania and Erlangen, Germany, is one of the largest suppliers to the healthcare industry in the world. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, healthcare information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes. Employing approximately 31,000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7.4 billion EUR, orders of 7.8 billion EUR and group profit of 1.1 billion EUR for fiscal 2003. More information can be found at http://www.usa.siemens.com/medicalpressroom.

Please note: Graphics and statistical charts on the survey results are available by contacting Donna Picciocchi at 610-448-1477.

Opinion Research Corporation, on behalf of Siemens Medical Solutions, conducted two waves of a telephone survey from Sept. 4-9, 2003 among a national probability sample of 1020 men and 1040 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental U.S. An initial screening question asked whether or not participants had been hospitalized or responsible for assisting in the admittance of another person to the hospital within the last five years. The results are based on the 948 individuals who responded "yes" to the screening question. The margin of error for the results is +/- three percentage points.

Siemens Medical Solutions

CONTACT: Donna Picciocchi of Siemens Medical Solutions, +1-610-448-1477,
donna.picciocchi@siemens.com

Web site: http://www.usa.siemens.com/medical