Avoiding The Doctor's Office

According to a new study from Pearl.com, 54% of survey respondents have lied to a doctor about a health issue, and 63% admit they are more likely to ask about sensitive topics such as sex and STDs online, rather than addressing them face-to-face in the doctor’s office.

There are thousands of licensed doctors available online, answering questions at any time of day, for people to have a two-way personal dialogue on any health or medical concern, says the report.

65% of respondents have avoided going to a doctor in favor of searching online for medical information on at least one occasion. Americans are bringing their medical questions online for a variety of reasons, with insurance-related concerns, embarrassment, and the fear of discovering a pre-existing condition high on the list.

Three of the five most common reasons for seeking medical information online instead of at the doctor’s office were related to insurance coverage:

  • 24% said Lack of health insurance coverage was the primary reason, followed by expensive co-pays and visits not covered by an insurance plan
  • 21% cited embarrassment as a reason to seek medical information online instead of in person with their doctor; embarrassment was the top reason for 18-24 year-olds
  • 41% of people were more likely to ask questions about sex online than offline; of that group, 50% were from the Midwest
  • Waiting around for an exam is the number one doctor’s office pet peeve for the 64% of Americans, followed by being exposed to germs and sick people (32%) and filling out confusing and time-consuming paper work (31%).

Americans are often uncomfortable having an in-person conversation with a medical professional about more intimate health questions. The most common topics that 54% of respondents are fibbing about to their doctors include:

  • Poor diet (18%)
  • Lack of exercise (18%)
  • Sex-related issues (15%)
  • Alcohol use (15%)
  • Smoking (15%) – with men more likely than women to lie to their doctors about smoking, alcohol and drug use

Allison Leeds, head of user experience for Pearl.com, notes that “... providing health and medical access to ... those who prefer... online access to an expensive doctor’s visit... need help after hours... are uncomfortable asking questions in-person... want to get some initial information from a doctor online before scheduling an in-person appointment... “ is extremely helpful.

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Tags: health, research
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