The 4 biggest factors determining a patient's choice of physician

Overall, patients are generally happy with their physicians and many stay with their physicians for a decade or more. However, a recent study from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Weatherby Healthcare found patients identified cost, experience, competence and a positive attitude as important factors in selecting a new physician.

For the study, researchers surveyed 488 respondents to determine the profile of the modern medical patient. Respondents identified as U.S. residents age 18 years and older who had visited a physician for a standard checkup in the past two years at a medical facility other than a free clinic.

Here are six takeaways from the survey.

1. Forty-six percent of respondents reported being "very satisfied" with their current physician, compared to 6 percent of respondents who reported being "very dissatisfied."

2. Analysis discovered patient satisfaction increased with age. Eighty-two percent of patients over the age of 55 identified as being satisfied with their physicians. The rate dropped to 67 percent among patients ages 18 to 34.

3. More than half (51 percent) of respondents said finding an in-network physician was "critical" in their selection process.

4. Researchers also discovered apart from a physician's age, which respondents linked with a physician's experience, those surveyed were largely unconcerned with their physician's demographic profile. However, 23 percent of women strongly preferred having a physician of the same gender, compared to 9 percent of men.

5. Researchers discovered that in addition to cost and experience, respondents also look for a physician that demonstrates competence and a positive attitude.

6. While more than half of physicians surveyed (59 percent) said they wish they had more time to communicate with patients, only 33 percent of patients indicated they wanted more communication time with their physician.

To view the full results of the study, click here.

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