How Do Baby Boomers Feel About Their Primary Care Doctors?

October 29, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Customer Engagement | Customer Service & Experience | Pharma & Healthcare

MDVIPIpsos-Boomers-Top-Frustration-Primary-Care-Doctors-Oct2015Baby Boomers (51-69) have generally positive attitudes towards their primary care doctors, as the vast majority agree that their doctor listens carefully to their questions and concerns (88%) and knows their name, history and medical issues (82%) as well as the medications and care they receive from specialists (79%). However, almost half report some frustrations with their doctor, and some have taken action as a result, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of MDVIP.

Respondents to the survey – who were required to have a primary care doctor or to have seen one in the past 5 years – were asked to choose their top-3 frustrations (if any) when seeing their primary care doctor over the last few visits. Waiting while in the office (32%) was the top irritant, followed by the limited time they actually have with the doctor (26%). That’s not too surprising, given that almost one-third of respondents report that, when going for a visit, they typically spend more time in the waiting room than they do with the doctor.

As a result, having visits that don’t feel hurried and last as long as they need to (62%) is the quality Baby Boomers most value in a primary care doctor. Other qualities sought by Baby Boomers include a kind and compassionate bedside manner (50%) and same-day or next-day appointments (46%). These experience-driven factors appear to be more important than a doctor’s strong credentials (29%) or price transparency (17%).

Meanwhile, more than one-third of respondents report taking some type of action due to their frustration with a doctor, with about 1 in 6 (16%) having stopped seeing a doctor and/or switched a doctor (20% women versus 12% men). Another 11% have considered switching doctors, but not followed through. Social media isn’t an avenue for their frustrations, though, as only 1% have complained on social media.

A report released earlier this year from Accenture Strategy found that 53% of customers in the US had switched service providers in at least one industry over the past year due to poor service. Retail (30%) and pay-TV (11%) customers were the most likely to have switched, while 7% had switched healthcare providers.

Although relatively few Baby Boomers in the MDVIP and Ipsos Public Affairs survey have taken action as a result of their frustrations, that doesn’t mean their current experiences match their ideal ones. Asked to choose from a list of descriptions associating visits with other experiences, Boomers were most likely to describe their typical visit as being akin to shopping at the grocery store – going in, getting what’s needed, and then being done. But the ideal experience for the largest share of respondents is similar to consulting a trusted financial advisor – that knows their personal situation, makes good recommendations and gives them peace of mind.

About the Data: The Ipsos poll, conducted on behalf of MDVIP, was fielded August 25th ”“ 31st, 2015. For the survey, a sample of 1,049 U.S. adults ages 51 to 69 (“Baby Boomers”) who have a primary care doctor or have seen a primary care doctor in the past five years was interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for Boomers nationally.

The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, region and household income based on Census data.

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