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Patients Hitting a Wall Trying to Find Information about Docs

A new survey shows that the majority of US adults can't find comprehensive information aboout doctors online.

A new survey shows that 42% of US adults spent more time researching the latest electronic gadget or gift for a friend than selecting their primary care doctor, and the numbers were even higher for respondents under the age of 55.

Yet the respondents say they wish they could find more comprehensive information about their doctors online.

According to Insider Pages, the site that released the study, the results also suggest that many people base their choice of doctor on the convenience of the doctor’s office location, as opposed to factors such as patient ratings, or the doctor’s malpractice records or expertise.

For the research, Harris Interactive polled 2,020 adults for the survey, including 1,490 individuals who reported having a primary care physician. The survey found that:

  • 67% of adults wish they could find more comprehensive information about doctors online;
  • 73% of people under 35 agreed that they wanted to be able to find more comprehensive information about doctors online;
  • 51% of adults agree it is hard to find information on a doctor;
  • 71% adults wish doctors would share information about their medical background and expertise online;
  • 78% of those adults aged 18 to 34 said they wish doctors would share more information online.

The findings in terms of time spent researching physicians were particularly surprising, according to the authors of the survey, who found that 49% of respondents said they spent more time researching a gift for a family member or friend than researching their primary care physician, and that 59% of adults agree they rarely research a specialist who they were referred to by their primary care physician.

Another topic covered in the survey was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and how its passage has prompted many adults to change doctors, or at least consider seeing a different physician. The survey found that:

  • 42% of adults are worried that they will be required to change their doctor as a result of the new health reform bill;
  • Adults with a primary care physician who affiliate themselves with the Republican party were 61% significantly more likely than their Democrat (25%) or Independent (45%) counterparts to agree they worried about being required to change their doctor.

For more information about the survey, click here.