Most Americans don't want second opinions

Physicians may benefit from taking what they read about patients with a grain of salt. Despite the media's emphasis on questioning suggested health remedies and reports of patients' increased reliance on the Internet to obtain medical information, the majority of Americans say they trust their doctors, a new Gallup Health and Healthcare Survey reveals.

To be specific, the survey shows that 70 percent of Americans are confident in their doctor's advice and don't feel a need to seek out a second opinion or do additional research on their own, WebMD reports, noting that the figure is up from the 64 percent of patients who made the same statement in 2002.

Patient, age as well as education, play a role in their confidence in their doctors' advice, the survey showed, but not as completely as researchers expected. While physician trust seems to decline with every younger generation of patients, those with the highest levels of education aren't necessarily the most likely to second-guess their physicians.

"While one might expect that interest in a second opinion and doing additional research would be higher among Americans with college degrees or post-graduate education, that is not the case," says Frank Newport of Gallup, author of the report. "There is little difference in confidence in one's doctor across the educational spectrum."

Finally, Gallup's annual survey of perceived honesty and ethics of various professions suggests that patients regard physicians just as highly as they did in 2002, but not as much as they trust nurses. The separate survey revealed that 81 percent of Americans give nurses a very high or high rating for honesty and ethical standards, compared to 66 percent for medical doctors.

To learn more:
- see the story from WebMD Health News