Survey: Half of Americans Afraid to Ask Their Healthcare Provider About Conditions, Symptoms

PatientPoint-commissioned survey reveals patients are anxious, want education and tech to enhance wait times

CINCINNATI –  A new PatientPoint survey of 2,005 nationally representative Americans reveals that half (51%) of Americans with a healthcare provider are too afraid to ask them about their health condition or symptoms, with more men than women dreading this interaction (57% vs. 45%).

The PatientPoint-commissioned survey1 conducted by OnePoll also uncovered that seven in 10 (69%) Americans are concerned they won’t be able to understand the terminology their healthcare provider uses in response to their questions. And half of Americans said they worry a provider will be insulted or get angry if they push to find out more about their condition. The survey also discovered that 69 percent of Americans wish they knew how to better describe their symptoms before talking with their healthcare provider.

About two in five (39%) Americans have felt anxious before going to a doctor’s appointment, according to survey results. The reasons many have felt overwhelmed, anxious or stressed? Thirty-nine percent worried about what they might find out and 38 percent felt they didn’t have enough information to help them prepare for their visit.

When at their physician’s office, more than a third (35%) of Americans said both the waiting room and exam room cause them anxiety, for similar reasons. Fifty-one percent of respondents said it takes too long to be called for their appointment in the waiting room, and 48% were stressed about wait times in the exam room itself.

Although 54 percent of survey respondents said they usually get the most information about their health from their physician or specialist, nearly half (48%) said that they have left an appointment feeling confused.

Sixty-two percent of Americans said they want their doctor’s office to be more modern, with 78 percent wanting technology showcasing relevant education on their symptoms.

“Transforming the doctor’s office from intimidating to engaging begins by putting ourselves in the patient’s shoes in those critical, reflective moments while they wait to see their healthcare provider,” said PatientPoint Founder and CEO Mike Collette. “By leveraging technology to equip patients with the relevant education they want on their condition, we can empower them to speak up, ask questions and learn more about treatment options.”

Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents said they wish their healthcare provider would give them more educational materials on their symptoms, and 55 percent wish their physician would speak to them in more detail about treatments and medication.

When asked what would make the waiting room and exam room more comfortable, people favored being able to read or watch educational materials about their condition (47% and 48%).

“Waiting time is learning time, and knowledge is power,” said Collette. “Empowered patients make better decisions and better decisions mean better outcomes. The more we can provide relevant content to patients at the point of care and beyond, the more we can increase patient comprehension, improve compliance and help patients live healthier lives.”

1Survey methodology: This random double-opt-in survey of 2,005 nationally representative Americans was commissioned by PatientPoint between September 22 and September 30, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR). 

About PatientPoint

PatientPoint® is a leading digital health company that connects patients, healthcare providers and life sciences companies with the right information in the moments care decisions are made. Our solutions are proven to influence patient behavior and improve health outcomes, driving value for all stakeholders. Across the nation’s largest network of connected digital devices in 35,000 physician offices, PatientPoint solutions empower better health for more than 750 million patient visits each year. Learn more at 


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