Feelings About U.S. Physician-Patient Relationship

The majority of Patients and Physicians are very satisfied with their relationships with one another, expressing feelings that range from Comfortable to Enthusiastic.

Moreover, the number of Patients and Physicians expressing highly positive feelings about their respective relationships have increased somewhat over the last year.

That said, Physicians feel much more consistently favorable (+26 points), specifically Enthusiastic (+18 points), about their relationships with their Patients than Patients feel about their relationships with their Physicians.

Given this gap, it is critical that Physicians invest in better assessing their Patients’ comfort and satisfaction with their approach and treatment in order to create and continuously reinforce a strong Physician-Patient relationship.

Similar to the 2009 measurement, about two-thirds of Physicians indicated favorable feelings that reflected high levels of empowerment and motivation about practicing medicine.

Also similar to the 2009 measurement, about half of Patients are satisfied with the amount of time their Physicians spend with them. This suggests there is certainly opportunity for improvement on this factor.

Patients feel empowered about specifically requesting treatments/medications from their Physicians; while Physicians feel more cynical about such requests.

The amount of information available for Patients, whether accurate or not, has empowered them to be more proactive in the management of their health and wellness. However, this is not something that Physicians consistently value. Thus, it is important for Physicians to treat the management of their Patients’ health as a partnership, taking the time to clearly explain why the requested treatment(s) may or may not be a good fit for a Patient and provide a clear justification for another option.

Overall, neither Physicians nor Patients have favorable feelings about television advertising for prescription drugs; however Physicians are more opposed to it (Patients: 54% unfavorable feelings; Physicians: 67% unfavorable feelings).

That being said, Patients have become move comfortable with it since 2009; while Physicians have become more opposed to it.

Neither Physicians nor Patients have a favorable view of health insurance companies, which was also the case in 2009. Sixty-one percent of Patients (up from 55% in 2009) and 73% of Physicians expressed a negative view.

Moreover, over a third of the Physicians and Patients expressed the most intensely negative feelings (Alarmed) about health insurance companies. Such Alarmed feelings include stress, aggravation and fear, all of which reflect low levels of empowerment.


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