Reasons Why Patients Might Change Doctors Detailed in New Study

Variables that encourage patients to leave include attitude, comfort of facility, and cost
Variables that encourage patients to leave include attitude, comfort of facility, and cost

HealthDay News — Factors associated with patients switching physicians include physicians' attitude, design and comfort of a facility, and communication, according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Although 49% of patients stay with their doctor for 5 years or more, the authors note that one quarter of patients are likely to switch physician if they find a doctor with a more positive attitude. Other factors that can affect patients and cause them to leave include time wasted in the waiting room, cost, bedside manner, and design and comfort of a facility (almost 80% of respondents reported the latter as a reason). 

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In addition to wanting doctors to be knowledgeable and up to date on research, patients want the staff to be competent and helpful. However, the authors state that patient satisfaction increased with age, with satisfaction with physicians reported by 82% of those over age 55, compared with 67% among those aged 18 to 34 years. One-third of patients reported being unhappy with the communication they were receiving from their doctors.

"The number one complaint I hear is that the patients feel rushed," said Jeffrey S. Gold, MD, of Gold Direct Care in Marblehead, Mass., according to the article. "I make it a point at each appointment to clearly take the time to ask the patient if they have any questions or concerns and address them. I feel that taking this few extra minutes with a patient greatly helps with patient retention."

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