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Nearly 3 In 4 Americans Say It's Easier To Go To The Emergency Room Than To Get A Doctor's Appointment | NEWS-Line for Nurse Practitioner

Nearly 3 In 4 Americans Say It's Easier To Go To The Emergency Room Than To Get A Doctor's Appointment


The emergency room (ER) is the default choice for most Americans when they need medical care. Nearly 3 in 4 Americans (73%) think it is easier to go to the ER than to get a doctor's appointment, according to a new independent study from Zocdoc.

Link: https://www.zocdoc.com/about/news/2019-er-report/

This attitude toward health care is driven by long wait times, given the average 24-day wait time to see a primary care physician in the U.S. Zocdoc's research found that even though 84% of Americans have an established relationship with a primary care physician, the majority (65%) would still visit the ER if they couldn't get in to see a doctor at the office quickly enough. Younger generations like Millennials (ages 25-39) and Gen Z (ages 18-24) were even more likely to do so (71% and 69%, respectively).

The study also found that 1 in 3 Americans (33%) had gone to the ER for non-urgent medical care, and 14% view the ER as their primary care doctor. Again, younger generations are most responsible for this growing trend. A quarter of Gen Z (25%) and Millennials (24%) view the ER as their primary care doctor, which represents a stark contrast to the small 3% of Boomers (ages 55+) and 14% of Gen X (ages 40-54) respondents who said the same.

"It is a failure of our healthcare system that Americans are turning to the ER because they lack solutions that help them secure faster access to care," said Oliver Kharraz, M.D., Zocdoc founder and CEO. "I founded Zocdoc to give power to the patient, leveraging technology to fix these structural inefficiencies that are bad for patients, providers, and our system as a whole. I'm proud that Zocdoc's digital marketplace helps the typical patient get in-network care at a doctor's office within 24-72 hours of booking."

With the rising cost of care in America, ER overutilization is a dangerously expensive trend. Receiving treatment at the ER can be up to 12 times more expensive than at a doctor's office, contributing $32 billion in wasted spending on hospital care that could have been delivered in a lower-cost primary care setting. Americans are unwittingly footing much of this bill; more than two-thirds (69%) admit they are unsure of the costs for an ER visit.

Most Americans say they would be willing to change this behavior if they had faster access to in-network, lower-cost ambulatory care. The study revealed more than 4 in 5 Americans (86%) would avoid a costly trip to the ER if they could see an in-network doctor within 24 hours. Based on recent Zocdoc user feedback, nearly 1 in 5 patients who booked a same-day appointment (19%) said they might have otherwise gone to the ER if not for Zocdoc.

The study was conducted for Zocdoc by Kelton Global between July 10-16, 2019 using an online survey. The sample consists of 1,028 Americans ages 18+, and 105 New York residents; 104 New Jersey residents; 106 Florida residents; 104 Georgia residents; 102 Pennsylvania residents and 104 Washington residents (ages 18+).

Results are subject to sampling variation. Figures are weighted to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total U.S. population. In this particular study, the margin of error is +/- 3% and will be slightly higher for any subgroups.


Photo Credit:Storyblocks.com

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