More Americans than ever are satisfied with their visits to the doctor, a new survey shows.
The online poll of over 3,000 people aged 18 and older found that 88 percent of those who visited a doctor’s office in the past year were satisfied with their last visit — a 5 percent increase from 2012. And 53 percent said they were very satisfied with their last doctor’s visit.
Satisfaction appeared to increase with age. Sixty-nine percent of people aged 70 and older were very satisfied, compared with 47 percent of those aged 18 to 35, according to The Harris Poll, conducted in September.
When asked if they were very satisfied with their last visit to the doctor, whites (54 percent) and blacks (57 percent) were much more likely than Hispanics (43 percent) and Asians (39 percent) to say so.
Those surveyed also identified what factors were most likely to influence their level of satisfaction.
These factors included the doctor’s overall knowledge, training and expertise (83 percent), access to overall medical history (65 percent), time spent with the doctor (58 percent), ease of making an appointment (49 percent), efficient and simple billing (45 percent), and being able to communicate by phone or email with the doctor outside of an appointment (44 percent).
Time spent waiting was a very important factor in judging how positive the visit was for 43 percent of those surveyed. Less important factors were convenience of a doctor’s office location (40 percent), amount of paperwork (32 percent), and the appearance and atmosphere of the doctor’s office (31 percent).
Since 2012, a growing number of doctor’s offices provide online communications with their patients. Twenty-five percent of survey respondents said they now have online access to their medical records, including doctor visits, prescriptions, test results and history. That’s up from 17 percent in 2012.
Email access to doctors also rose, from 12 percent of patients in 2012 to 19 percent of patients in 2015.
However, 59 percent of patients said they don’t have online access to their medical records but rate it as important. And about half said the same about being able to contact their doctor via email.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers tips for talking with your doctor.