June 26, 2015

Why Americans cancel their doctors' appointments

Daily Briefing

Work obligations are the number one reason Americans end up rescheduling or canceling their doctors' appointments, according to a survey by the online physician appointment booking website ZocDoc.

For the survey, researchers interviewed nearly 2,200 U.S. adults between May 13 and May 26.

Appointment troubles

They found that nearly 50% of employed respondents had canceled a doctor's visit because of work—and that getting an appointment in the first place can be troublesome for some.

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About one-fourth of respondents said that it is difficult to reach someone when they call a physician's office, while about one-third of respondents said they have had trouble making an appointment shortly after getting sick. And 37% of respondents said they have not scheduled an appointment either because they did not remember how long it had been since their last checkup or because they simply forgot.

Putting off care

Roughly 25% of respondents said that if they are unable to schedule an appointment on the first call, they wait a few weeks or more before attempting to schedule an appointment again.

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And rather than make a doctor's appointment when they get sick:

  • 66% of women and 52% of men said they would rather wait to see if they get better; and
  • 43% of respondents said they would be more likely to self-diagnose—often via searching the Internet—and self-treat their condition.

Overall, 80% of respondents said they are forgoing or delaying preventive care, with millennials being particularly likely to not schedule appointments with physicians (Mangan, CNBC, 6/23; Huffman, ConsumerAffairs, 6/23; ZocDoc release, 6/23).

The takeaway: Work obligations are the top reason Americans end up rescheduling or canceling their doctors' appointments, while many report difficulties scheduling initial checkups, according to a ZocDoc survey.

Help your patients find you with HealthPost

Everything your patients do is online—from booking an airline ticket to shopping for groceries. Shouldn’t scheduling a doctor’s appointment be just as easy?

Watch our video to see how HealthPost makes online scheduling convenient for both patients and providers. You can link the scheduling portal to your hospital homepage and other consumer health websites, making it easy for patients to find you. Patients can also quickly schedule appointments in real time across the entire outpatient network based on specialty, insurance, location, and more.

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