Survey: Patients happy with primary care docs, but worried about rising healthcare costs

More than 90 percent of adult U.S. patients expressed satisfaction with their interactions with primary care doctors, according to a new Harris Poll survey that also found the rising cost of healthcare puts pressure on patients and affects outcomes.

Conducted on behalf of the Physicians Foundation in February 2016, the survey polled a national sample of more than 1,500 adults who reported at least two visits with their primary care physician during the previous year. On metrics such as a physician's ability to offer clear explanations, respectfulness, knowledge of medical history and listening skills, upward of nine in 10 patients said they were either satisfied or very satisfied.

President of the Physicians Foundation Walker Ray, M.D., lauded the patient-satisfaction results in an announcement accompanying the survey release, but expressed concern about the potential for the high cost of care to limit patient access. "It is incumbent upon the entire healthcare community to ensure patients have access to quality healthcare services that they feel they can actually afford," he said. "Otherwise outcomes suffer."

In the survey, more than 25 percent of patients reportedly failed to comply with recommended tests or treatments due to cost, and patients cited the high cost of prescription drugs more frequently than any other factor as the reason for rising healthcare expenses. This suggests an opening for doctors to overcome their reticence over discussing the cost of care with their patients to help boost patient adherence by seeking out ways to lower drug costs, such as through prescribing generic alternatives, per previous reporting by FiercePracticeManagement.

To learn more:
- here are the survey results (.pdf)
- read the announcement