53% of patients want physicians to share nonmedical therapy options, survey finds

Serious communication gaps exist between patients and primary care physicians, according to a survey conducted by Harris Poll.

Harris Poll surveyed 2,027 Americans on their health status, perceptions of health and personal experiences with primary care providers for the online survey, which was commissioned by Samueli Integrative Health Programs. Of the 2,027 respondents, 1,865 reported having a primary care physician.

Here are five survey findings to know:

1. Overall, 76 percent of adults reported their personal health was good or excellent. An even higher percentage, 86 percent, said they had a lot or a great deal of control over their health; only 1 percent said they had no control at all.

2. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they discussed physical health with their physicians. More than 50 percent reported having discussions about test results, medications and exercise regimens.

3. Less than half of respondents said they talked to their physician about social determinants of health, such as diet (42 percent), sleep (40 percent) and mental health (36 percent).

4. More than half (52 percent) of survey respondents said their discussions with physicians did not extend beyond medical needs like test results, medications and physical symptoms.

5. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they wished their physician would discuss nonmedical therapies with them such as nutrition, acupuncture or meditation. Forty-five percent said they wanted to talk to their physicians about why they want to be healthy.

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