|

What bugs Americans most about their doctors

We asked 1,000 people about their biggest medical gripes

Consumer Reports magazine: June 2013

In a nationally representative survey, we asked 1,000 Americans about things that might bug them during a doctor visit. Unclear or incomplete explanations of a problem bothered them much more than most other complaints.

Respondents rated 16 complaints on a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 meaning  “you are not bothered at all” and 10 meaning  “you are bothered tremendously.” Our gripe-o-meter shows the results.

Long waits in exam or waiting rooms were more distressing than inconvenient office hours or filling out medical forms. Significantly less bothersome than the other things was a doctor’s discouragement of alternative treatments such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and chiropractic.

Women were much more bothered than men about private discussions taking place within earshot of other patients, rushed office visits, too-early release of hospital patients, and inconvenient office hours. They were also more likely than men to be bugged if a doctor took notes on an electronic device instead of interacting face to face.

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. Westerners were much more bothered by the discouragement of alternative medicine and by doctors who rushed through visits than were all other respondents.

Bottom line. We’ve reported over many years that openness, respect, and trust are critical to a successful doctor-patient relationship. Because many office visits last just 10 to 20 minutes, it’s important to prepare a list of concerns and questions. Prioritize, and raise your big three or four concerns first. Explain symptoms clearly, and gently interrupt if you feel you’re not being heard. Prepared patients have reported an improved relationship with their doctor. Taking a family member or friend along can be very helpful. See more advice from our medical expert Orly Avitzur, M.D., on how to get your doctor to listen and when it's time to fire your doctor.

When choosing a new doctor, people who found their physicians through someone they trusted—a friend, family member, or another doctor—had the most favorable experiences, our surveys have shown. For more information, go to our Doctors & Hospitals page.

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

CR092K15-Robocalls-Digitone-ID
RAGE AGAINST ROBOCALLS
Robocall blocker review: Users tell you what worksVideo Is there any way to eliminate those incessant, maddening calls?
Audio & video Cats Bose Electronics Wireless speakers Electronics & computers Wireless speakers
WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS
8 best electronics for tricked-out dorm rooms These top-performing gadgets will help students work hard and relax easy.
HEALTH NEWS
Safe at home: What to look for in a medical alert system These devices offer peace of mind, but the monthly costs can add up.
Laundry detergents
LAUNDRY DETERGENT REVIEWS
Laundry room face-off: Persil takes on TideVideo The European challenger has a slight edge over America's favorite detergent.
GAS GRILL REVIEWS
3 high-end gas grills with low marks for grilling Video Fervor and Swiss Grill fail to impress in Consumer Reports' tests.
TIRE REVIEWS
How to choose the best tires for your car, SUV, or truck It doesn't pay to skimp when buying replacement tires for your ride.
Consumer Reports
ABOUT CONSUMER REPORTS
Interested in joining the Consumer Reports Board Get details on applying for service on our board of directors.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more