NEW YORK — An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? It turns out Americans pretty much let anything keep the doctor away! Forty-one percent of Americans say they put off going to the doctor. That includes 38 percent of people 26 to 34 years-old and 39 percent of 35 to 54-year-olds not going to the doctor in the past five years.
A survey of 2,000 Americans found that being potentially unable to afford their care (52%) is 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%).
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%).
Black (67%) and Asian Americans (63%) 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 percent 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 over 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,” says founder and chief executive officer at PatientPoint, Mike Collette, in a statement. “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,” adds Collette.
Data from two double-opt-in surveys conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PatientPoint. The first survey polled 2,000 nationally representative Americans between Aug. 2 and Aug. 11, 2023, with an ethnicity split through natural fallout, and the second polled 275 Latino/Hispanic Americans between Aug. 17 and Aug. 23, 2023. The surveys were conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).