Vitals Finds Most Patients Have a “Type” When it Comes to Dr. Right

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71 Percent of Patients Care More About an Emotional Connection Than a Doctor’s Credentials

“The key to an enduring doctor-patient relationship is in finding the right match based on a number of factors, from bedside manner to technical savvy to the type of practice the physician runs,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “Just like in dating,

A national survey released today by Vitals found that, when it comes to finding a physician, patients are drawn to five distinct physician personalities, each with their own unique set of qualities. The stakes for finding the right doctor are high, too. Studies in the past have confirmed that patients who trust their doctor are more likely to comply with prescribed regimes and, as a result, be healthier.

“The key to an enduring doctor-patient relationship is in finding the right match based on a number of factors, from bedside manner to technical savvy to the type of practice the physician runs,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “Just like in dating, every patient has a certain ‘type’ of doctor that is right for them – and settling for Dr. Wrong can often result in heartbreak.”

Among some of the most astonishing findings, the study indicated that 71 percent of patients care more about their emotional connection to a doctor than the doctor's academic credentials. Similarly, 78 percent prefer a doctor with a small, intimate practice over a doctor at a large practice with access to resources.

“Every doctor offers something unique and different, and this study only reinforces that patients should take the time to consider a variety of factors before settling on one doctor,” Rothschild said.

The study revealed five specific archetypes that patients most frequently seek out for long-term doctor relationships:

Dr. No Nonsense
Dr. No Nonsense thrives at efficiently getting to a precise diagnosis and starting on a plan of action fast. They rely heavily on evidence-based medicine, and can easily recite outcome percentages and efficacy statistics. Bedside manner is not the strong suit of Dr. No Nonsense. The doctor of choice for 18 percent of survey respondents, Dr. No Nonsense most appeals to younger males and single individuals who desire a “strictly business” relationship with their physician rather than an emotional connection.

Dr. No Nonsense’s TV Doctor Counterpart: Dr. House from “House”

The Idealist
The Idealist is generally younger than other doctor types and is committed to growing a newly-established practice in his or her community, which means staying active outside of the office as well. Because the practice is still small, there may not be a lot of cutting edge technology or office management systems, yet this creates a relaxed environment appreciated by the patients. Chosen by 24 percent of survey respondents, The Idealist appeals most to younger patients, particularly students, and is by far the best listener of the archetypes.

The Idealist’s TV Doctor Counterpart: Dr. Dorian Grey from “Scrubs”

The Sage
The Idealist has the potential to grow into The Sage, a more established presence in his or her community, and a seasoned veteran with decades of experience. The Sage often has relationships with several generations within the same family because of the respect he or she has earned over the years. The Sage has seen it all before, and is most often a perfect match for patients 55 and older. This archetype also proved to have the widest appeal, with 32 percent of survey respondents choosing The Sage.

The Sage’s TV Doctor Counterpart: Dr. Marcus Welby from “Marcus Welby, M.D.”

Dr. Trailblazer
With a penchant for cutting edge techniques, Dr Trailblazer uses every available resource, from digital medical record systems to emerging clinical trials. Dr. Trailblazer will email lab results to a patient, use a tablet to display x-ray imagery, and have a working online appointment system. Dr. Trailblazer attracts patients who value technology more than emotional connections – most likely, a college-educated, middle-aged father. Patients love Dr. Trailblazer because he makes access to information easier for them – he e-prescribes, uses digitized records and emails your lab results. The Dr. Trailblazer archetype was best-suited to eight percent of survey respondents.

Dr. Trailblazer’s TV Doctor Counterpart: Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy from “Star Trek”

Dr. Whole You
Patients who prefer a physician who cares more about the entire spectrum of a patient’s well-being – rather than just individual ailments – are drawn to Dr. Whole You. This physician is a holistic healer who advocates the use of complementary integrative medicine and prioritizes the psychosocial aspects of patient care. Dr. Whole You’s practice could encompass family support and education, home care and complementary therapies. This doctor most appeals to middle-aged and older women who value a strong emotional connection to their doctor as a central component of their lives. Dr. Whole You was preferred by 18 percent of survey respondents.

Dr. Whole You’s TV Doctor Counterpart: Dr. Quinn from “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Vitals from September 21st – 25th, 2012 among 2,319 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Vitals
Vitals empowers consumers with the tools and services they need to take charge of their health. Vitals is the only website dedicated to helping patients find doctors that meet their needs, request appointments and prepare for their visit. Used by over 11 million visitors each month, Vitals makes it easy for patients to find and connect with quality medical care. Visit Vitals on Facebook or connect with Vitals on Twitter.

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Gina M. Larson- Stoller
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