Are you happy with your healthcare?

A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research revealed a troubling statistic: just 12% of adults say they believe the healthcare system in the US is handled extremely or very well.

While healthcare providers and consultants talk a lot about the importance of the patient experience, it’s clear that the industry as a whole is not meeting the mark. When patients have to wait weeks for an appointment that lasts just a few minutes, many just avoid doctor’s visits altogether.

This isn’t a post-pandemic phenomenon either. It’s been going on for some time. A pre-pandemic study reported that patients avoided going to the doctor due to:

  • Finding the experience unpleasant
  • Rude or inattentive providers
  • Long wait times
  • Difficulty getting convenient appointments

Healthcare providers have had a challenging few years, often working in extreme conditions and worrying about their own safety. It’s no surprise that nearly a third of physicians say they feel burned out and are thinking about leaving the profession.

But patients are feeling burned out, too. Long wait times to get an appointment, more wait times at the doctor’s office, fairly limited interaction with doctors, and hefty medical bills all add up. Then, when the physicians are stressed, they may not provide the level of engagement the patient wants. In many cases, they are looking at computer screens for longer than they are addressing patients.

Many patients are skipping appointments. In many cases, it’s having a negative impact on health outcomes. Doctor visits are increasingly limited to when patients are sick, rather than preventative care. For example, annual physicals, checkups, blood work, and screenings can help identify the warning signs of health problems, yet nearly 20% of adults say they haven’t seen a doctor within the past year. A quarter of adults say they don’t have a primary care provider.

Finding doctors, getting appointments, and dealing with insurance companies sometimes just feels like too much.

Patient burnout is especially challenging for those with chronic conditions that need regular checkups. Avoiding visits can have a cumulative effect not only on underlying health conditions but mental health as well, creating a cycle of burnout that can lead to depression.