Nearly half of patients say they'd feel safest getting COVID-19 vaccine at doctor's office: survey

When a COVID-19 vaccination becomes available, patients may be more likely to safest getting it from their doctor, according to a recent survey.

When asked in the second annual “State of Patient Access and Engagement” 2020 survey where consumers would feel safest receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, nearly half chose the doctor's office. The survey, conducted OnePoll and commissioned by DocASAP, a patient access platform, polled 1,000 U.S. adults who had visited a doctor in the last 12 months. It also found one in three respondents said they'd feel safest getting a vaccine at a hospital and 29% said they'd feel safest at a pharmacy. 

In contrast, DocASAP's “Telehealth Consumer Experience” survey on July 28 found just more than one in four patients felt doctor’s offices were the safest facility to enter. 

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When it comes to distributing the vaccine outside of a physicians office, more respondents said they would feel safer receiving the vaccine in a grocery store with a walk-in clinic (16%) or retail store with a walk-in clinic (15%) than a drive-thru vaccination site (7%).

"As states and healthcare leaders develop vaccination distribution plans, understanding patient preference will be critical to ensuring mass immunization," DocASAP officials said in a statement.

Overall, 84% of consumer respondents said they would plan to get an annual flu vaccine.

Virtual options

Meanwhile, the survey also found a large number of patients (44%) are interested in a blend of telehealth and in-person care options.

Having digital options was also among the top factors that would influence a patients' decision to switch healthcare providers, the survey found. The top response for switching was “provider’s location is more convenient” (44%), but was closely followed by “provider is available for both telehealth and in-person visits” (40%) and “provider has near-term availability when I need care” (37%).

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“Blended care delivery models consisting of both in-person and virtual care are playing a crucial role in improving patient experience and, more importantly, outcomes,” said Puneet Maheshwari, co-founder and CEO of DocASAP in a statement. “As we prepare for the next wave of COVID-19 infections, ensuring patient access to the right care provider and care setting at the right time will be critical. This, combined with enhanced healthcare consumer-facing digital capabilities, will streamline the delivery of end-to-end care during the pandemic and beyond.”

Beyond the appointment itself, nearly half of providers responded they would prefer scheduling an appointment with a healthcare provider online compared to 39% who said they'd prefer to schedule over the phone and 10% who said they'd prefer in-person. 

Consumers also indicated they preferred digital options for pre-appointment and post-appointment communications. The majority (56%) said they preferred email or text message for pre-appointment communications, up 4% from the same time last year. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers said they preferred post-appointment communications from their healthcare providers to be via digital methods, up 6% compared to last year. 

The survey found "text message" was selected as the preferred method for appointment reminders across all ethnic groups.