Study: Patients are very satisfied with family physicians

Tags: patients, health care costs, health care reform, family physician

Study: Patients are very satisfied with
family physicians

posted 11.20.12

A new consumer study released last month by the Physicians Foundation shows that patients highly value family physicians. The survey was conducted online earlier in the year and involved 2,236 U.S. adults, of which 78 percent indicated that they have a family physician. Here are some of the results.

A vast majority of the respondents who have seen their physician in the last year said that they were happy with their visit. Only 1 percent reported being “not at all satisfied,” while 79 percent indicated that they were “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their family physician. Another 19 percent said that they were “somewhat satisfied.”

The reasons for satisfaction varied by respondent, but often included customer-service/communication-related responses and very knowledgeable physicians. Many mentioned how personable their doctors were and their obvious interest in patients’ lives, as well as their physicians spending a sufficient amount of time explaining issues and treatment possibilities. It is also notable that the amount a patient trusts their primary care physician and is satisfied with him or her as a doctor increases with a patient’s age. 

Approximately 95 percent of respondents say that their doctor is either sometimes or always able to “exercise independent judgment when providing care, considering the influences that hospitals, government, and insurance companies may have on his/her practice.” Again, the older participants show more confidence in their physician’s judgment, as 71 percent of respondents 55 years and older said that their doctor “always exercises independent judgment.”

When asked why they think the cost of health care is rising in the U.S., few respondents place the blame on physicians. Approximately 75 percent say that the rise in cost is most likely attributed to insurance companies, and another 75 percent say it is drug companies. They listed physicians themselves the least likely influence, as a mere 30 percent of respondents look to physicians for rising health care costs.

Other topics the study focuses on include insurance companies’ influence on the quality of patient care, observations regarding the federal health care reform law, and the future of the U.S. health care system in general.

You can find the study, Consumer Attitudes Toward Family/Primary Care Physicians and the U.S. Health Care System, in its entirety here.