Health Information

Is the Playing Field Level?

A new study from Oliver Wyman and Altarum Institute, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will explore the health information needs of consumers, especially vulnerable populations, and how the market could better serve them.

The study will look at how different segments of the U.S. population currently access health information, their barriers or incentives to access, perceptions of the support provided, and whether there are issues not being addressed by available health information.

The study also includes an in-depth examination of the health information landscape. Through interviews with a cross section of key organizations – including insurers, providers, employers, consumer engagement companies, healthcare information companies, and federal and state agencies – the project will assess stakeholders’ perceptions of consumer need, and explore their current market focus and future investment priorities. By sharing the findings of the consumer survey and market research, the study hopes to foster dialogue around the information needs of various consumer segments, and raise awareness of the divide that may exist between market perceptions and consumers’ actual needs.

Get involved Join our Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center LinkedIn group and contribute to discussions around consumer information needs. We are also looking for study participants who can share their experience and help improve the quality of health information. ​


Informing industry discussion with the true needs of vulnerable populations will lead to the development of better health information resources, and that can help overcome information disparity, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes.
Graegar Smith, Principal, Oliver Wyman
We have seen an explosion of health information resources, but these are often fragmented and not personalized to the user. This study will help us identify how health information resources can be made more complete and integrated into care decisions.
Dr. Christopher Duke Altarum Institute
This study will determine if health information is accessible and impactful to all consumer segments, particularly vulnerable populations.
Graegar Smith, Principal, Oliver Wyman
Graegar Smith, Principal, Oliver Wyman Answers 3 Questions
  • 1Why is this research important?

    Thanks to advances in technology, people can now access health information from a variety of digital and mobile sources, in addition to receiving useful information from their healthcare provider. But we don’t know if all this information is useful and driving the desired outcomes, or if it is benefiting everyone equally. This study will determine if health information is accessible and impactful to all consumer segments, particularly vulnerable populations.

  • 2What makes this study unique?

    Researching consumers’ needs will tell us if there are information disparities; but it won’t help us address those disparities. In gathering the market’s perceptions of consumers’ needs, and then sharing the findings about actual needs, we will help the market to create more effective health information. The research also will identify “common ground” between various populations, which may encourage the marketplace to extend existing strategies across consumer segments, with little-to-no incremental cost.

  • 3Why is Oliver Wyman involved in the project?

    Our Health & Life Sciences practice is committed to building a consumer-centric healthcare market. All of our work is related to improving access, quality, experience, and cost – for all consumers. Innovations that leave out, or leave behind, vulnerable populations will lead to further health disparities; and that will hinder market progress. We are excited about tackling this important issue with Altarum Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Information is typically confusing or incomplete, and is often targeted at more affluent consumers. This work is intended to push the industry to become more responsive to what all consumers actually want and need.
Andrea Ducas, Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Additional Resources

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Oliver Wyman Health

Altarum Institute

Is the Health Information Playing Field Level?

New effort from Oliver Wyman and Altarum Institute examines the health information needs of vulnerable populations and how the marketplace could better serve them.