Administrative Tasks Pose Burden for Patients in the United States

Substantial number of patients report delayed or forgone care due to an administrative task



WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Patients frequently do administrative tasks that can create burdens resulting in delayed or foregone care, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in Health Services Research.

Michael Anne Kyle, Ph.D., R.N., and Austin B. Frakt, Ph.D., both from Harvard University in Boston, used data from the March 2019 Health Reform Monitoring Survey to assess the prevalence of patient administrative tasks (scheduling, obtaining information, prior authorizations, resolving billing issues, and resolving premium problems) and whether they are associated with delayed or foregone care. The analysis included responses from insured, nonelderly adults (4,155 participants; 62 percent completion rate).

The researchers found that 73 percent of respondents reported performing at least one administrative task in the past year. Of those reporting an administrative task, one in three reported delayed or foregone care due to an administrative task. Disability status had the strongest association with administrative tasks (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.91) and burden (aOR, 1.66), when adjusting for demographics. There was an association noted between being a woman and doing administrative tasks (aOR, 2.19), as well as being a college graduate and performing an administrative task (aOR, 2.79). Higher income was found to be associated with fewer subsequent burdens (aOR, 0.55).

“Financial costs are rightly a big focus in health policy, but our findings suggest patients’ administrative burdens are consequential and deserve attention from researchers, practitioners, and policymakers,” Kyle said in a statement.

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