What do patients look for in their doctors?

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Bedside manner vital for medical staff, poll shows

Eight in ten Americans say bedside manner is crucial when choosing a doctor, with the same amount also saying experience with a specific procedure is vital.

The AP-NORC Centre survey also discovered that three quarters found helpful office staff and how long it took to get an appointment important, whilst 62% also factored in how long they ended up sitting in the waiting room. When asked what the characteristics of a high quality doctor should be, the number one answer from the 1,002 volunteers was a good listener, with other skills including the right diagnosis, a caring attitude and a good bedside manner and knowledge.

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The findings also highlighted that many Americans struggle to find adequate information about medical providers, making it difficult to decide who to opt for when choosing their healthcare. Only one in five could remember seeing information that compared the quality of health providers over the course of the last year, whilst nearly half of the group are not confident they could learn if their doctor has been disciplined at all in the past. When choosing a doctor however, the key factor in America came down to insurance coverage or the cost.

Six in 10 adults said they would trust doctor recommendations from friends and family, and nearly half valued referrals from their current doctor, although the poll also found that few patients actually trusted information provided on online – whether this was patient reviews, health insurers, ratings web sites, the media or even the government.