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Patients Say Cost Matters Greatly in Choosing Doctor

Reasons to leave include unprofessional staff, difficulty getting scheduled, long wait to see doctor

FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The number one determining factor for selecting a doctor is whether the physician is in-network, according to a report published by Vitals.

More than 800 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older were polled to examine their satisfaction with their doctor-patient relationship and factors influencing their choice of doctor.

According to the article, the top factors in choosing a physician are being in-network (accepts your insurance; 63 percent), location (36.6 percent), doctor’s bedside manner (34.1 percent), doctor education and credentials (29.5 percent), and availability and office hours (24.8 percent). About half of respondents (48 percent) reported using alternative medical facilities such as urgent care centers, retails clinics, or surgical centers. Overall, 70 percent of respondents reported not being fully satisfied with their doctor-patient relationship. Reasons to leave a doctor included lack of professionalism from office staff (57 percent), difficulty getting an appointment (47 percent), and long wait to the see doctor (45 percent).

“Despite an emphasis on keeping out-of-pocket costs low, most patients aren’t minimizing costs they could face from deductibles,” according to a news release issued by Vitals. “The survey found the majority of people don’t ask about cost prior to an appointment, lab test, health screening or lab image, like an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging. However, 48 percent of survey respondents do ask about the cost of their prescriptions. In addition, nearly 50 percent don’t know if their doctor can answer their questions about the cost of medical care, meaning they likely aren’t having the conversation in the first place.”

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