Patients Most Annoyed by Long Waits, Unclear Test Results

Survey regarding doctor's office grievances identifies patients' top pet peeves

FRIDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Long waiting times and unclear test results are the top patient grievances when it comes to visiting the doctor, according to a report published in the June issue of Consumer Reports.

In a survey of 1,000 Americans, participants were asked to rate their grievances regarding visiting the doctor on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning "you are not bothered at all" and 10 meaning "you are bothered tremendously."

The researchers found the top grievances to be: "unclear explanation of a problem" (8.1 out of 10); "test results not communicated fast" (7.9); "billing disputes hard to resolve" (7.8); "hard to get quick appointment when sick" (7.8); "rushed during office visit" (7.8); and "long wait for doctors in the exam or waiting room" (7.6). Complaints also differed between men and women, with women being more bothered by doctors using electronic devices to make notes rather than interacting face-to-face and by doctors holding discussions within earshot of other patients. Patients were less annoyed by having to fill out multiple forms in the waiting room (6.1) or by doctors discouraging alternative treatments (5.7).

In addition, according to Consumer Reports, "Americans 65 and older were more peeved by having to fill out long forms than were those under 65. Americans younger than 35 said they'd be less bothered than did older folks by doctors who are too quick to order tests and procedures."

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