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Survey shows high patient satisfaction with physicians, concerns over health care costs

Nine out of 10 U.S. adults report high levels of satisfaction with their primary care physician (PCP), according to a results of national patient survey released last week by the Physicians Foundation. However, patients cite increasing concern and frustration with their ability to manage rising health care costs and medical debt, with many indicating that they have avoided treatment plans, routine or specialty check-ups, or prescriptions as a result.

Conducted online between Feb. 1 and Feb. 11, a nationally representative sample of 1,511 adults between the ages of 27 to 75 who had visited the same physician twice in the preceding year participated in the survey.

“The preservation of the physician-patient relationship is fundamental to the success of our health care system, and it is heartening to learn that more than nine out of 10 patients are highly satisfied with their primary care physician,” said Walker Ray, MD, president of the Physicians Foundation in this news release. “The Foundation is, however, very concerned over the number of U.S. adults avoiding routine care and treatment plans due to health care costs.”

According to the research, 95 percent of patients surveyed are satisfied or very satisfied with their PCP’s ability to explain information in a manner they understand, while 96 percent feel their physicians are respectful of them. Moreover, 93 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with how well their PCP listened to them during their most recent exam, with 92 percent noting high levels of satisfaction relative to how well their doctor knew their medical history.

The survey results also showed that 62 percent of adults reported concern over being able to pay for medical treatment if they get sick or injured. In fact, 28 percent reported having skipped a test, treatment or follow up with a physician because of the cost, and 27 percent cited cost as a primary factor for not filling out a prescription in the last 12 months.

“Affordability of care has unquestionable impact on access. The responses we saw in our survey regarding non- or partial-compliance with care plans due to financial pressures must be a red flag for everyone invested in improving patient care,” Dr. Ray continued. “It is incumbent upon the entire health care community to ensure patients have access to quality health care services that they feel they can actually afford. Otherwise outcomes suffer.”

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit organization seeking to empower physicians to lead in the delivery of high-quality, cost-efficient health care. Click here for the full report of the 2016 patient survey.