Many Americans Avoid Seeing the Doctor, New Study from Vitals Finds

By September 27, 2012Press, Press Releases

Cost and hassle keep us from seeking healthcare


SEPTEMBER 27, 2012 (LYNDHURST, NJ) —When it comes to visiting the doctor, many Americans simply choose not to. In fact, more than 1 in 3 says that they don’t see their doctors as often as they should. While it’s not too surprising that 51 percent of young adults (aged 18-35) don’t schedule all their routine check-ups, a solid 28 percent of 55+ aged adults also admit to skipping appointments.

The findings are part of an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Vitals, an online doctor review and information site.

Why are Americans avoiding the doctor? For 1 in 4 of us, the reason is cost – which was cited twice as frequently as the second most popular reason, being too busy (14 percent). Other reasons include long wait times (13 percent) and being afraid of knowing something is wrong (10 percent).

But while Americans may be dissatisfied with the cost of healthcare, the good news uncovered by the survey is that the vast majority of us – 86 percent – are satisfied with our relationships with our primary care physicians (PCPs), and 82 percent of us feel our PCP works hard for us.

Topping the list of factors that most influence our satisfaction with our PCPs are the amount of time spent with the doctor (38 percent) followed by accurate diagnosis (34 percent). However, the third most important factor overall, professionalism (25 percent), reveals the biggest split in opinion among the genders: 31 percent of men said professionalism most influences their satisfaction with their PCP compared to 21 percent of women, who place a doctor’s bedside manner higher in importance at 28 percent.

When it comes to the most trusted sources of information for choosing a new doctor, 96 percent of us trust our current doctor’s (if we have one) referral. In a close second, 95 percent of us said we trust the recommendations of family and friends. However, outside of those personal relationships, the third most trusted source of doctor recommendations is online review websites, like Vitals, at more than 80 percent.

Vitals is the leading online doctor information and ratings resource, where millions of patients go each year to rate their doctors on various components of care: accuracy of diagnosis, amount of time spent with the doctor, bedside manner, and follow-up care. In addition to evaluating a doctor’s patient-provided ratings and reviews, visitors to the site may utilize the physician and dentist finder tools in their search to identify those doctors in their area who meet their education, experience, certification, insurance, and other requirements.

About Vitals
Vitals is the only website dedicated to helping patients find doctors that meet their needs, request appointments and prepare for their visit with our condition-specific Patient Guides. Used by over 10 million people each month, Vitals makes it easy for patients to find and connect with quality medical care.

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