What are patient views on healthcare? Are patients satisfied with the level of care they receive? A report by The Physicians Foundation details the results of an online survey of patients. The survey had over 1,700 respondents aged 27-75 who visited the same doctor at least twice in the past 12 month period. I think you might find the results, below, interesting:
Most patients are satisfied with their primary care doctor.
The good news – most patients are satisfied with their healthcare.
- 64% report they are “very satisfied”
- 31% report they are “somewhat satisfied”
- Only 20% report they thought about changing primary care doctors “all the time” or “often”
Many patients sense that doctors are stressed.
- 31% believe their doctors are “overwhelmed and overworked”
The majority of patients feel the quality of appointments could be improved.
- Only 11% of patients report that they have ample time with their doctors during appointments
- 77% wish doctors would listen more
- 59% think reliance on technology can interfere with high quality care
- 57% think doctors rely more on what they see on the computer and less on what the patient tells them during an exam
- 46% report their doctor spends more time looking at computer/tablet and less time looking at the patient
Patients have mixed feelings about electronic health records (EHRs).
- 73% think EHRs will improve the quality of their own healthcare
- 42% think EHRs help patient care a “great deal”
- 43% think EHRs help patient care “somewhat”
Patients desire strong relationships with their doctors.
- 67% believe doctors should be “strong advocates”, yet only 19% report their doctors are “strong advocates”
- 36% believe that ensuring patients and physicians are truly partners in care is the most important factor for the future of healthcare delivery
The majority of patients think external factors (e.g. electronic health records, 3rd party authorizations) adversely impact patient care.
- 24% think external factors negatively impact care a “great degree”
- 36% think external factors negatively impact care a “good deal”
Most patients think outside influences impact treatment options.
- 92% think health insurers impact treatment options available to patients
- 84% believe pharmaceutical and medical device companies impact available treatment options
- 77% think Congress impacts treatment options
Patients feel it can take a while to get a diagnosis.
- 28% had a medical problem that took a long time to diagnose
Most patients worry about healthcare expenses.
- 89% worry about the impact of healthcare expenses in the future
- 57% sometimes feel they are one sickness away from having serious financial trouble
- 35% feel “very concerned” about their ability to pay medical bills if they were to get sick or injured
- 40% feel “somewhat concerned” about potential future medical bills
- 29% have current medical related debt
Money concerns are keeping patients from getting care.
- 28% had a medical problem but did not visit a doctor because of cost
- 28% skipped a medical test, treatment or follow-up care because of cost
- 25% did not fill a prescription because of the cost
- 19% skipped medication doses because of the cost
What can you do to get the most out of your medical care?
Although many patients report feel satisfied with their healthcare, this survey highlights some pervasive issues in healthcare today. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take, as a patient or family caregiver, to lessen the impact of some of these concerns and improve the quality of your care. Here are some tips:
- A solid relationship with your doctors goes a long way to keeping you as healthy as possible. If you have a strained relationship with a doctor and you feel it cannot improve, consider finding a new doctor.
- In an ideal world, doctors and patients would determine the best course of treatment without having to think about cost and/or insurance coverage. Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case. For more information on the negative impact of high healthcare expenses, read my blog post on high deductible insurance plans. To be sure that your voice is heard during the decision making process, read my blog post on shared decision making.
- Be an “engaged” patient (or family caregiver) for the best care possible. For tips on improving your level of engagement, read my blog post on the what, why and how of patient engagement.
- Lastly, it’s clear that our doctors’ struggles to provide quality care in time-limited slot will impact most patients. Read my blog post with 10 tips for a better medical appointment to prepare for your next appointment.