Half of Patients Report Their Doctors Don’t Consult Them on Lifestyle Choices

One out of four patients give their physicians sub-par ratings

June 22, 2016 – LYNDHURST, NJ – While a healthy lifestyle and one’s wellbeing go hand in hand, only 50 percent of patients report having important wellness conversations with their doctors about smoking, weight control or nutrition.

At a time when increasing obesity and diabetes rates grab headlines, primary care doctors have a huge opportunity to help patients manage their lifestyle choices to ward off future disease. But according to a Vitals Index survey, half of patients don’t discuss these issues with their doctors – even though nearly 60 percent would like support in these areas.

Part of the problem may be that the average doctor visit lasts a mere 8-12 minutes, compared to over 20 minutes back in 1993. In fact, today it’s not uncommon for physicians to see over 40 patients per day.

Abbreviated appointments don’t leave time for doctors to advise their patients on how to live healthier, and they don’t foster meaningful conversation either. According to the study, almost 30 percent of people feel their doctor doesn’t listen willingly during the appointment. And while 4 out of 5 doctors now use electronic medical records during patient consultations, over 40 percent of patients feel the technology is just another distraction during their brief encounter.

Given the poor communication between doctors and patients, it isn’t surprising that 56 percent of survey respondents said they’ve been misdiagnosed at some point.

“There’s a temptation for doctors to overload their schedules in this volume-based system,” said Mitch Rothschild, Founder and Chairman of Vitals. “There’s obviously a need for quality measures that consumers can use to find doctors that practice with thoroughness, resulting in better outcomes.”

People consider listening an important measure of quality. Yet, few quality measures have been developed with patient input resulting in measures that are meaningless to patients choosing care. That’s why patient feedback scores as one of the most important quality indicators. Vitals has more than 6 million health care ratings and reviews – more than any other website.

“Reviews open a window into outcomes – the ultimate measure in health care – in an important and accessible way to patients,” explains Rothschild.

Vitals latest white paper, The State of Quality & Value Measures, describes the limitations of current quality and value measures and outlines opportunities to improve them. It also lists sources consumers can use to find provider quality and value measures online. The State of Quality & Value Measures report can be accessed on the Vitals website.

About Vitals

Vitals empowers everyone to shop for their health care like an expert. We bring together cost and quality transparency along with innovative consumer engagement programs to help people select high-quality, lower-cost care. Vitals leads the market with incentive and engagement programs that pay people to shop. Our solutions achieve measurable and sustainable savings for consumers, employers and health plans. Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

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