[EDITORIAL NOTE: LC, who blogs at Retirement Daze, has sent in her photo for the Where Elder Blog feature. You can see it here. And you can find out how to submit a photo of your own blogging place here.]
According to a recent survey, 73.6 percent of women and 44.1 percent of men use the internet over other sources to research their aches and pains. The women say they have grown frustrated with trying to see their primary care physicians; men say they don't know how to describe symptoms when using the internet. (Men reading this – you'll have to explain that reason; I sure can't.)
Here are some other, more specific findings:
- 85.1% women and 50.1% of men don't even think to call their doctor when they think something is wrong
- 90.6% of women and 75% of men believe trying to get in to see the doctor is a waste of time
- 81.5% of women and 71.6% of men think seeing their doctor will be too expensive even with insurance coverage
- 71.3% of women and 64.2% of men say hidden costs and fees not covered by insurance keep them from seeing their doctor
Also, women who turn to the Internet before or instead of consulting their physicians said they are comfortable doing so because they aren’t looking for answers to life-threatening illnesses but rather, information on general aches and pains.
The percentages are astonishing – much higher than I would have guessed. According to Tamer Elsafy, CEO and founder of Flexcin:
“Although the Internet doesn’t replace your doctor, I think these results speak to the fact that both women and men are very frustrated with the healthcare industry. If you have general aches and pains or a case of the sniffles, people today are more inclined to research the Internet rather than wait several days to see a doctor and then pay the high cost of prescriptions.”
[This survey was conducted by Flexcin International, Inc. which, according to the email about this survey, is “a manufacturer and marketer of leading natural supplements that provide joint inflammation relief.”]
Oddly, given the kind of supplement this company deals in, the 1,034 survey respondents, equally divided between men and women who live in 10 U.S. states, were age 35 to 60. So none of them has experience with Medicare.
Nevertheless, the survey is useful for elders too. I realized that it's been years since I've consulted a physician for anything other than an annual checkup. I use community or local government programs for my annual flu shot and because I haven't found a primary care physician here yet, I used a nearby drop-in clinic when my eye got itchy, red and swollen enough that I believed it needed professional attention.
Since I've never tried, I don't know what the wait time might be to see my (Medicare) physician about an immediate problem. But unlike the survey respondents, thanks to Medicare, I have never feared the expense or hidden fees of seeing him or her.
After four years of Medicare coverage, I can no longer imagine living with the worries the survey uncovered. These are just one good reason we still need to work toward a single-payer health care system.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Lighted Windows