Healthcare’s Newest Headache: Finding Dr. Right

If you think the search for love is tough, consider this: more than 14 million American adults believe it is easier to find a new significant other than it is to find a new physician, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Vitals. With more than 30 million more Americans expected to enter the health care system through the Affordable Care Act over the next few years, there is more competition than ever to find and keep Dr. Right.

Searching for Dr. Right 300x199 Healthcare’s Newest Headache: Finding Dr. Right Photo

Most Americans trust online patient reviews in their search for Dr. Right.

“There are few relationships more important to your health and well-being than the one you have with your physician,” said Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals. “But millions of Americans are struggling with this key relationship.  Our research reveals deep similarities between the search for love and the search for a new doctor – from the arduous process of finding and getting to know a potential partner, to the heartbreak that comes from ending a relationship.”

Among other findings, the survey shows that Americans have similar emotions when ending a relationship with a doctor to those they would have when breaking up with a romantic partner. More than 90 percent of Americans said they would feel frustrated if they had to find a new primary care physician – one in five would even be angry.

That is not to say everyone is happy with their current primary care physician. Only 21 percent called their current physician their “one and only,” while 31 percent reported the relationship was “good enough” for now. More than 37 million are considering finding a new physician, and 81 percent say they trust online patient reviews.

“We have found that patients gravitate towards a specific type of physician that is right for them,” Rothschild added.  “The decision on your ‘Dr. Right’ relies on a number of factors, many of them based on emotions rather than credentials. The good news for patients is that, unlike dating, you can turn to patient reviews in order to better assess your physician options.”

What a Patient Wants

So, what are Americans looking for in a doctor?

Most (71 percent) prefer a physician with less technology and more time for patients over one with the latest technology but less time to spend one-on-one. Even more (78 percent) prefer a primary care physician at a smaller, more intimate practice over one working at a larger practice. Finally, 71 percent say they prefer a physician whom they personally connect with, versus one with stellar credentials.

Find out more about the survey and read the original press release in full.