Vast Majority of Americans Would Want to Know if They Have a Serious Illness or Injury, Even If Ther


Vast Majority of Americans Would Want to Know if They Have a Serious Illness or Injury, Even If There Is No Cure, New Survey Shows

  • Siemens study shows that Americans are even willing to pay out-of-pocket for medical tests that aren't covered by their insurance in order to get a clear diagnosis.

MALVERN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Amidst ongoing national debate about healthcare costs, new research unveiled today by Siemens Healthcare shows that the vast majority of Americans (92 percent) agree that "the value of knowing exactly what is wrong with their health is as important as having access to a doctor in the first place" and nearly four in five Americans (78 percent) would want to have a test done to diagnose a disease, even if there is no treatment or cure available. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Siemens Healthcare from April 9th to 11th, 2013 among 2,222 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

"There is simply a rational, financial and emotional value to knowing if you are sick," said Dr. Gregory Sorensen, CEO of Siemens Healthcare, who is also a board certified neuroradiologist. "The survey findings show clearly that Americans want to know exactly where they stand when it comes to their health."

Medical testing and imaging such as MRI and CT scans, as well as clinical diagnostic tools to help diagnose cancer, Alzheimer's disease, coronary disease and other serious illnesses, have come under increased scrutiny as the nation examines healthcare expenditures. However, the survey results show that - despite the belt tightening times for many American families - the majority of U.S. adults see real value in such tests:

  • Roughly two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans would even be willing to pay out of their own pocket for tests to diagnose serious illness if there were such a test but it was not covered by their insurance.

  • Over half (56 percent) have had and/or someone in their family has had an illness or injury that was at least in part diagnosed using a medical imaging scan.

  • Almost nine in ten Americans (87%) agree that ruling out a diagnosis can save money in costly treatments that may not have been needed.

  • Eight in ten Americans (83%) agree that even if medical technologies and tests are expensive, they save money in the long run by helping doctors to get to the right diagnosis more quickly.

"As a physician, I know first-hand there is great value in excluding a diagnosis. This is a critical step to ensure that patients avoid unnecessary, expensive medical interventions. Medical imaging and diagnostic technologies were not developed to drive up costs. They were developed to improve health," added Dr. Sorensen.

Other key findings of the 'Value of Knowing' survey include:

  • Women over age 45are more likely than men of the same age to agree that the value of knowing exactly what is wrong is as important as having access to a doctor in the first place." (99% of women age 45-54; 97% age 55+ compared to 92% and 91% of men, respectively).

  • Eight in ten Americans (80%) are concerned that the Government is making decisions about their medical care purely on the basis of cost; nearly nine in ten (89%) feel that way about insurance companies.

  • Only 8% say that they and/or someone in their close family has been denied access to medical imaging device testing by a doctor or hospital; of those, more than half (59%) say it was due to cost, while the rest (41%) say it was for a medical reason.

"Overall, we found these survey findings to be quite eye-opening," said Dr. Sorensen. "The results show that Americans, on the whole, are much more concerned about paying for medical care (72%) than about access to medical care (28%). At the same time, Americans have great faith in the benefits of medical testing and imaging as a means to a correct diagnosis. As a physician and as an executive responsible for the health insurance of thousands of our employees, I know that effectively used diagnostic tests can help more efficiently manage healthcare expenditures while providing patients with knowledge and peace of mind."

About the Survey:

This survey was conducted online within the United States from April 9th to 11th, 2013 among 2,222 adults ages 18 and older by Harris Interactive on behalf of Siemens via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive:

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

About Siemens Healthcare:

The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source - from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 51,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world. In fiscal year 2012 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 13.6 billion euros and profit of around 1.8 billion euros. For further information please visit:

Follow us on Twitter at:

Siemens Healthcare, Media Relations
Lance Longwell, +1-610-448-1473

KEYWORDS: United States North America Pennsylvania


The article Vast Majority of Americans Would Want to Know if They Have a Serious Illness or Injury, Even If There Is No Cure, New Survey Shows originally appeared on

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.