Four in 10 Americans (41%) say they put off going to the doctor.
A survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans found that being potentially unable to afford their care (52%) was a top reason.
Other reasons for avoiding their doctor included anxiety about potential procedures or tests (40%), fear of receiving bad news or a serious diagnosis (39%) and exhaustion from parenting or caretaking (39%).
People are also much more concerned they won’t be able to afford their treatment this year compared to last year’s OnePoll survey (66% vs. 45%).
That may be why nearly four in 10 26–34-year-olds (38%) and 35–54-year-olds (39%) have not been to the doctor in the past five years.
And only 43% of Black Americans polled reported doing so.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PatientPoint, the survey also revealed that more people have felt anxious before going to a doctor’s appointment this year than last year (48% vs. 39%).
Asian Americans surveyed were much more likely than white respondents to feel confused (36% vs. 20%), overwhelmed (37% vs. 19%) or intimidated (30% vs. 16%).
An additional survey of 275 Hispanic/Latino Americans found they were much more likely than white respondents to feel anxious (63% vs. 48%), stressed (47% vs. 22%) or overwhelmed (34% vs. 19%).
“Looking into the reasons for these feelings, more Americans felt they didn’t have enough information to help them prepare for their visit this year than in 2022 (48% vs. 38%),” said the Survey.
Black (63%) and Asian Americans (67%) polled were more likely to say they didn’t have enough information to prepare for their appointment, compared to white respondents (44%).
Hispanic/Latino Americans were nearly twice as likely to be concerned about what they might find out at their doctor’s appointment (50%), compared to white respondents (27%).
However, there’s been some progress made, as only a third (33%) of Americans have “always” or “often” left an appointment feeling confused — down from 48% year over year.
Still, nearly half of respondents remain afraid to ask their healthcare provider about their health condition or symptoms (46% in 2023, compared to 51% in 2022).
Americans’ trust in their healthcare provider may help in this regard, and eight in 10 people polled (87%) say they trust their healthcare provider. The top things that make a healthcare provider trustworthy? Being able to explain a condition or symptoms in simple terms (62%), listening to patients’ concerns (57%) and providing personalized education and resources about their condition, symptoms and treatment options (55%).
“Educating patients before, during and after their visit not only lets them make more informed decisions based on their individual health journey, but also increases the likelihood they will follow through with prescribed treatment,” said Mike Collette, founder and chief executive officer at PatientPoint. “More than half of Americans polled said knowing how and why their treatment is important would make them feel empowered to adhere to their treatment plan.”
What would make patients feel more empowered to talk with their HCP about their health? Receiving education about their health during their appointment (55%), knowing that there’s treatment for their symptoms/condition (53%) and receiving education about their health before their visit (43%).
People’s healthcare providers are their top source of health information (57%), followed by Google or another search engine (43%) and social media (31%).
“Sharing content with patients tailored to their individual journey in the care moments that matter helps create better awareness and better understanding, ultimately driving better conversations and better health,” said Collette.
WHY DO PEOPLE PUT OFF SEEING THEIR DOCTOR?
- Concern about not being able to afford treatments – 52%
- Anxiety about potential procedures and/or tests – 40%
- Fear of receiving bad news or a serious diagnosis – 39%
- Exhaustion from parenting/caretaking – 39%
- Lengthy commute – 33%
- Exhaustion from work – 31%
- Fear about not being able to understand what my provider tells me – 20%
- Fear of being judged or criticized – 17%
- Overwhelmed about lifestyle changes I may be asked to make – 16%
Produced in association with SWNS Research
Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager
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