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Consumer Reports: Americans Dish about Docs

Consumer Reports: Americans Dish about Docs

Consumer Reports’ Gripe-o-Meter captures patients’ biggest peeves 

CR June 2013 CoverYONKERS, NY — Let’s face it. Americans hate to wait.  In fact, long waits in exam and waiting rooms bother them more than inconvenient office hours or filling out reams of paperwork.   Those are some of the 16 peeves that Consumer Reports captures in its Gripe-o-Meter.  Details are available in the June issue of Consumer Reports and online at  www.ConsumerReports.org.

In a nationally representative survey, Consumer Reports asked Americans to rate 16 complaints that might bug them on a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 meaning “you are not bothered at all” and 10 meaning “you are bothered tremendously.”  Consumer Reports’ Gripe-o-Meter shows the results.  The Gripe-o-Meter reflects the extent to which Americans are peeved about specific experiences at the doctor’s office; it is not a gauge of the frequency with which a gripe was experienced.

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. 

More highlights:

  • The top gripe on the Consumer Reports Gripe-o-Meter:  “unclear explanation of a problem” scored an 8.1.

  • “Test results not communicated fast” scored nearly as high with a 7.9.

  • Some complaints that bothered Americans almost as much the above include:  “Billing disputes hard to resolve,” “hard to get quick appointment when sick,” and “rushed during office visit.”  All three of those gripes were tied for third place with a 7.8 on the Gripe-o-Meter.

  • A little further down the list: “Long wait for doctors in the exam or waiting room” scored a 7.6.

  • Americans 65 and older were more peeved about having to fill out long forms than were those younger than 65.

  • Americans from Western states were much more bothered than other respondents by the discouragement of alternative medicine and by doctors who rushed through visits. 

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