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California Public Sentiments about Healthcare and Alternative Medicine – Survey Results

November 18, 2013

By Vivek Pathela, Founder of Homeosity (www.homeosity.com

In the last four weeks NCH, BAHA (Bay Area Homeopathic Association), and Homeosity collaborated to conduct some surveys to capture California’s general public sentiments about healthcare and compare them with the respondents from NCH and BAHA’s own community outreach.  88 California residents chosen by Survey Monkey’s own target audience responded to a 50-question survey.  Separately, we have captured 187 responses to the same survey from NCH and BAHA’s outreach via their newsletters.

Demographics

The 88 California respondents were adults ages 18 and up with the following demographics:

  • 50% are male and 50% female  (note: 91% of the 187 NCH/BAHA community respondents were females)
  • 85% are ages 25 and up and 17% ages 65% and up
  • 65% have a college degree or higher
  • 75% earn over $50k per year and 61% over $75k per year
  • 84% have seen a doctor (licensed physician) in the last 12 months
  • But only 38% have seen (62% have not seen) an alternative medicine (healing art) practitioner in the last 12 months
  • 43% claimed they have a chronic illness (note: 43% of NCH/BAHA respondents claimed the same)

The general audience was reached by Survey Monkey’s own database of voluntary respondents to surveys.

KEY FINDINGS

We’ve used the Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, which is a customer loyalty metric developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and introduced by Reichheld in his 2003 Harvard Business Review article "One Number You Need to Grow." By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would try (_______) [OR recommend (______) to a friend or colleague]? — we can track these groups and get a clear measure of our organization’s performance through our customers’ eyes.  NPS can be as low as −100% (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100% (everybody is a promoter).  An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is felt to be good, and an NPS of +50% is excellent. NPS is based on the fundamental perspective that every organization’s customers can be divided into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.   If we have, for example, 25% Promoters, 55% Passives and 20% Detractors, the NPS will be +5%. A positive NPS (>0) is generally considered as good.

Here are the 5 key takeaways from our study.:

 

1. The General Public is rather satisfied with their doctors, and prefers a gentle, gradual alleviation of symptoms, with a possible longer-term outcome.

It’s interesting to contrast the NPS scores of the general California public and the NCH and BAHA community respondents.  The latter respondents are a) borderline satisfied with the treatment they receive from their medical doctors, and b) far more satisfied with the treatment they receive from their alternative medicine (healing art) practitioners than the general public.    Both audiences do not favor an immediate alleviation of symptoms that may provide a temporary outcome.

2. The General Public would try a safe, gentle and natural medicine that heals the body rather than simply treating the symptoms.

Without revealing homeopathy as the name of this alternative medicine, 10 separate statements were tested with the respondents to see what they most prefer.  Of the 10, the general public responded favorably with an NPS score above 33% to the three stated in in the chart below.  In contrast, the NCH and BAHA community, who are familiar to homeopathy, gave a highly desirable NPS score of 90% to 95% to 9 out of the 11 statements in the survey.

3. Only 19% of the general public rightfully claimed this alternative medicine to be Homeopathy. 

53% do not know what this medicine is, and 25% selected some other alternative medicine (naturopathy 8%, Acupuncture 5%, Ayurveda 4%, Chiropractic 4%, etc).

4. FDA-regulated and medicine that is gentle and natural with minimum side effects are most important to the general public.

5. Surprisingly, the general public does not want to avoid vaccinations and flu shots and are quite neutral about avoiding antibiotics.

The results here vastly differ from the responses from the NCH and BAHA community.   Avoiding steroids is the only area in conventional medicine that the California residents would rather avoid, and even there the NPS score is only 36%.  The public is generally accepting vaccinations and seasonal flu shots.

You can find the complete results of the 50-question survey to the general California residents here.

It would be interesting to conduct this survey to the general public at a national scale and at periodic intervals when budgets permit.

I would like to extend my thanks here to Kathleen Scheible, CCH and founder of BAHA, and Alison Teitelbaum, Executive Director of NCH, for their fabulous support and enthusiasm in conducting this study.