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Patient Satisfaction With Doctors May Be on the Rise

Physician's expertise, time spent in exam room, and online access to info were key factors in trend

doctor and patient

FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- More Americans than ever are satisfied with their visits to the doctor, according to a new survey conducted by The Harris Poll in September.

The online poll of over 3,000 people aged 18 and older found that 88 percent of those who visited a doctor's office in the past year were satisfied with their last visit -- a 5 percent increase from 2012. And 53 percent said they were very satisfied with their last doctor's visit.

Satisfaction appeared to increase with age. Sixty-nine percent of people aged 70 and older were very satisfied, compared with 47 percent of those aged 18 to 35. When asked if they were very satisfied with their last visit to the doctor, whites (54 percent) and blacks (57 percent) were much more likely than Hispanics (43 percent) and Asians (39 percent) to say so. Those surveyed also identified what factors were most likely to influence their level of satisfaction. These factors included the doctor's overall knowledge, training, and expertise (83 percent); access to overall medical history (65 percent); time spent with the doctor (58 percent); ease of making an appointment (49 percent); efficient and simple billing (45 percent); and being able to communicate by phone or e-mail with the doctor outside of an appointment (44 percent).

Time spent waiting was a very important factor in judging how positive the visit was for 43 percent of those surveyed. Less important factors were convenience of a doctor's office location (40 percent), amount of paperwork (32 percent), and the appearance and atmosphere of the doctor's office (31 percent).

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