Is this anything? 51% of adults too scared to ask their doctor about symptoms, ailment they might have

NEW YORK — Half of Americans (51%) are too afraid to ask their doctor about a health condition or symptoms they’re experiencing. That’s according to a recent survey of 2,005 people, which reveals that more men than women dread this interaction (57% vs. 45%).

Overall, seven in 10 (69%) worry they won’t be able to understand the terminology their healthcare provider uses. Half fear their physician will be insulted or get angry if they push to find out more about their condition.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PatientPoint, the survey also finds that 69 percent wish they knew how to describe their symptoms better before talking with their physician. About two in five (39%) admit feeling anxious before going to a doctor’s appointment.

Sitting in the waiting room, and then again in the exam room sparks anxiety at the doctor’s office

Thirty-nine percent worry about what they might find out and 38 percent feel they don’t have enough information to help them prepare for their visit.

More than a third (35%) say both the waiting room and exam room cause them anxiety, for similar reasons. Fifty-one percent think it takes too long to be called for their appointment in the waiting room, and 48 percent stress about wait times in the exam room itself.

Although 54 percent think they usually get the most information about their health from their physician or specialist, nearly half (48%) have left an appointment feeling confused.

Sixty-two percent want their doctor’s office to be more modern, with 78 percent wanting technology showcasing relevant education on their symptoms.

“Transforming the doctor’s office from intimidating to engaging begins by putting ourselves in the patient’s shoes in those critical, reflective moments while they wait to see their healthcare provider,” says Mike Collette, founder and chief executive officer at PatientPoint, in a statement. “By leveraging technology to equip patients with the relevant education they want on their condition, we can empower them to speak up, ask questions and learn more about treatment options.”

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Fifty-nine percent wish their healthcare provider gave them more educational materials on their symptoms, and 55 percent wish their physician spoke to them in more detail about treatments and medication. When asked what would make the waiting room and exam room more comfortable, nearly half say simply being able to read or watch educational materials about their condition (47% and 48%).

“Waiting time is learning time, and knowledge is power,” Collette says. “Empowered patients make better decisions and better decisions mean better outcomes. The more we can provide relevant content to patients at the point of care and beyond, the more we can increase patient comprehension, improve compliance and help patients live healthier lives.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,005 nationally representative Americans was commissioned by PatientPoint between September 22 and September 30, 2022. It was 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).

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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