After putting off visits to their doctor due to the COVID-19 pandemic, patients are starting to express confidence that it is safe to see their doctor again. In the latest COVID-19 Patient Confidence Study from Healthgrades, 72% of patients report they are not delaying a doctor visit to discuss a condition and 52% expect to go to the HCP in the next two months or sooner. Just a month ago (in the April 30 survey), only 37% expected to see their doctor within in the next two months.
Healthgrades started this series of surveys back on March 27 and since then has checked in with patients once a week to measure trends in their confidence level, with a sample that includes multiple geographies and age groups as well as both genders. The latest survey results, released on May 21, reveal other promising trends as well, including patients feel more comfortable with the idea of visiting their primary care (PCP) physician tomorrow then have since late March when the first survey was conducted. In fact, 86% of consumers are comfortable visiting HCPs, which is more than double the confidence level of visiting a restaurant (40%) or attending a public gathering (36%) such as a rock concert or sports event.
However, patients still feel nervous about visiting an urgent care clinic with comfort levels increasing, but at a much slower rate compared to those willing to visit a PCP or a specialist. In fact, the levels of confidence in visiting an urgent care clinic have not significantly changed in the past month.
“As the country emerges from COVID-19, we’re watching consumer confidence shift back to where it was prior to the onset of this crisis,” Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Healthgrades, said in a statement. “At Healthgrades.com, this shift is reflected in the dramatic increases we’re seeing in physician searches as consumers are taking action to find and appoint with their healthcare providers.”
When it comes to that shift in physician searches on Healthgrades.com, the largest gains have been in Nevada (129%), Maryland (127%), Kentucky (125%), New York (114%), and Texas (111%).
Additionally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also reveals that telemedicine has been much more prevalent during the pandemic. Three in 10 respondents have participated in telemedicine within the past three months, which is 2.5x more than before the pandemic. Furthermore, 83% of respondents feel that more medical appointments can be conducted via a mobile device or a computer.