Today’s patients have a broader view of what good health means, according to a new survey, and they have greater expectations of what their doctors should be talking about during office visits.
The survey of 2,027 U.S. adults conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, found a disconnect in doctor-patient conversations. Half of patients said their doctors do not have conversations beyond their medical needs. They want their doctors to talk to them about more than physical health, test results and medications.
For instance, most Americans who have a primary care physician (74%) say their doctor typically discusses their physical health, but far fewer talk about behavioral factors that can strongly influence health, such as exercise (51%), diet (44%) and sleep (40%).
And while doctors focus on physical health, some of the most common health problems that patients face are mental health issues. The four most common health issues were: depression (19%), anxiety (18%), chronic pain (11%) and diabetes (10%).
Yet, among patients with a PCP, doctors discuss factors that influence the mind-body connection, such as mental health and spiritual health only 36% and 10% of the time.
The survey showed that doctors aren’t talking to their patients about important factors that influence their health, said Wayne Jonas, M.D., executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, and a practicing family physician, during a media briefing to discuss the survey findings.