Most Americans say that pharmaceutical manufacturers, banks, advertisers, energy firms, and tech companies have too much power and influence in today’s American economy, according to Public Attitudes Toward Technology Companies, a research report from the Pew Research Center.
A plurality of Americans says labor unions and farming and agriculture have too little power, along with a majority of people who believe that small business lacks sufficient power in the current U.S. economy.
This data point is part of a larger consumer survey on Americans’ attitudes about the growing role of technology in society, particularly with respect to political and social impacts.
There’s a subtle finding that is akin to healthcare surveys of patients and consumers: most Americans say technology’s products and services have more a positive than negative impact on peoples’ personal lives, but less so on society-at-large.
Similarly, in healthcare polls, most consumers say “my” healthcare is better than healthcare overall in the nation.
Overall, 58% of consumers say they can trust major technologies companies to do what is right “some of the time.” Only 1 in 4 (28%) of Americans believe they can trust tech companies to do right by them at least most of the time. As a result of perceptions of concentrated power and lack of trust, one-half of U.S. consumers think major tech companies should be regulated more than they currently are; in particular, 57% of Democrats believe in more regulation for tech firms compared with 44% of Republicans.
There are other important differences to note between people based on gender, age, level of education, and political affiliation/party ID.
More women tend to believe that technology companies support the views of men over women. More Republicans believe that tech companies support the views of liberals over conservatives. And, college graduates have more positive views of personal and social benefits of technology companies versus people with less education.
Younger people age 18-29 have more faith in technology companies’ intentions for good versus “bad.” Older people 65 and up tend to believe the tech companies should be more heavily regulated, and that the companies fail to anticipate how products will impact society.
The survey was conducted in May and June 2018 among 4,594 U.S. adults.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Healthcare delivery is becoming more digital, via electronic health records, telehealth and virtual visits, remote health monitoring, and self-care tools. Each of these platforms generates data at the N of 1 point-of-care for the patient, consumer, and caregiver. And those small data are getting aggregated into Big Data analyzed in algorithms via augmented intelligence and cognitive computing. Consumers have begun to get a taste of what this might mean for the privacy and security of that data, first through financial services and retail store data breaches, and in the past several years, cyber-security risks of health data.
Trust underpins health engagement. The results of this Pew study tell us that consumers’ trust levels if various industry segments are low: especially for pharma, financial services, and marketers.
It’s not new-news that consumers’ trust in pharma has eroded for years, as I pointed out here in Health Populi based on the latest Edelman Trust Barometer. What was intriguing about that research is that biotech was much more trusted than pharma, with biotech being seen as more innovative. Through a marketing lens, then, the biotech has done a better job at bolstering consumer trust than pharma has done.
Layer in banking to the healthcare ecosystem and consumers’ growing role as payor. Credit scores, payment plans for hospital stays and specialty drugs, and the expanding financial risk due to high-deductibles all play into the patient-as-payor and trust.
These financial and trust-risks impact Republicans and Democrats alike. The Pew research continues to build the case that prescription drug pricing, and healthcare financial risks, will play a large role in popular culture, and in the 2018 mid-term and 2020 Presidential elections.