Amid Often Faceless Healthcare Bureaucracy, Americans Want to Reconnect With Physicians, New Survey from DoctorsDirect.com Reveals

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Consumers Value Convenience, Flexibility, Information - and Access - From Doctors, Nationwide Poll Reports

In an era when many of us feel a real distance from the healthcare establishment, the typical American wants a relationship with his or her physician -- whether making an appointment when it's most convenient, walking in with ample information or following up after the visit.

That's the overwhelming conclusion of a new nationwide survey of 1,000 adults, conducted in January by market researcher Synovate of Chicago for DoctorsDirect.com (http://www.DoctorsDirect.com), the first ecommerce marketplace for medical services.

Respondents were asked to select what would "most" improve their satisfaction from their next doctor's appointment, aside from more one-on-one time with their physician. Consumers could select from five alternatives: less paperwork to complete in the waiting room; heated exam tables and medical equipment; the ability to arrange an appointment without having to call during office hours; knowing more about what to expect ahead of time; and receiving more attention and follow-up after the appointment.

Overall, consumers want to be better prepared with information before they visit a doctor (26 percent). Around a quarter (23.5 percent) would like to be able to make an appointment at their convenience and outside of normal office hours - an opportunity that, for a number of demographic groups, is a top priority. They want to receive more attention after the visit (31 percent), and they want less paperwork to fill out in the waiting room (12.5 percent). Creature comforts like heated exam tables are relatively less important than other factors (6 percent).

Affluent consumers were most likely to rank the ability to arrange an appointment on their own time as the top consideration (31 percent). Consumers with kids at home likewise ranked the after-hours appointment capability first (29 percent) -- again supporting the notion that busy people want convenience.

"Americans want the doctor to be 'in' - that is, in a relationship with them - and that desire increasingly goes beyond getting solid medical information to encompass the actual encounter in a doctor's office, " said Tommy McGloin, CEO, DoctorsDirect.com. "From making an appointment online to getting matters handled after the visit, the common thread is attention from the physician. Given the national trend toward consumer-driven healthcare, these findings underscore the need for a healthcare marketplace that facilitates more satisfying experiences for all parties to the transaction."

Echoing the Internet's role as a key element in the consumer-directed healthcare movement, a recent survey conducted by a leading consumer review publication of some 39,000 patients and 335 primary-care physicians revealed that almost 40 percent of patients researched their medical conditions online.

Drilling Down

Among other highlights of the DoctorDirect.com survey:

  •     Those employed full-time cited the need to book appointments after-hours as their most important concern (28 percent)
  •     Those approaching middle age (35-44) and those already there (45 to 54) ranked the ability to make an appointment after-hours first - at 31 percent and 29 percent, respectively
  •     The younger you are, the more you value information about what to expect from your physician (those 18-24 ranked it first among the five options, at 36 percent)
  •     As a rule, the older you are, the more you appreciate post-appointment follow-up (although the 25-34 age group is nearly as interested in post-appointment attention as their elders)
  •     Those with higher incomes were less concerned with knowing more about the details (cost, experience, procedures) ahead of time, while those with lower incomes were more concerned about both costs and procedures, and the opportunity to receive post-appointment attention
  •     On a regional basis, differences were negligible; those in the South expect a bit less in terms of follow-up, but still value it - and they rank knowing more about what to expect higher than their counterparts elsewhere in the country. Those in the Northeast were slightly less enamored of after-hours appointment access than those in other regions
  •     For the non-white population, knowing what to expect ahead of time was clearly the most important consideration (38 percent)
  •     Those with a high school education or less likewise placed "knowing what to expect" first (29 percent), while those with a post-graduate education ranked it well down the list (15.5 percent). For that group, making an appointment 24/7 was the top choice (32 percent) - perhaps once again indicating the importance of convenience for that population

For a full copy of the survey results email us.

About DoctorsDirect.com

DoctorsDirect.com (http://www.doctorsdirect.com) is a new online marketplace for medical services and physician information that improves access to care by facilitating a faster, easier and more satisfying experience for all. As the first Internet destination of its kind, DoctorsDirect.com offers a richly detailed database of physicians, many of whom provide the ability for consumers to schedule appointments online at their convenience. DoctorsDirect.com is HIPAA compliant and provides the highest standards in privacy and security. The privately held company has secured Series A investment from Spark Capital. The company is based in Los Angeles, with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Boston and New York.

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KENNETH GREENBERG
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