Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say they would vote for their physician if they were on the ballot, which may surprise some and shock others, though maybe it shouldn’t. For the same reasons that Dr. William Bradford was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, highly regarded physicians running for public office today are likely to be perceived favorably compared to their running mates. In fact, medical doctors consistently rank among the most trusted professions, according to Gallup’s annual Honesty and Ethics survey.
If anything, our survey shows that the qualities Americans value most in their physicians are the same qualities they want in a political leader, stating their physician is more:
- Trustworthy and caring than most politicians (61%)
- Knowledgeable of people’s health needs (54%)
- Intelligent than most politicians (50%)
- In tune with daily issues people face (40%)
- Likely to make improved healthcare a national priority (34%)
“Physicians work hard to earn their patients’ trust,” said Colin Banas, M.D., M.H.A., chief medical officer for DrFirst. “Sometimes that trust inspires doctors to want to make a difference for their community beyond medical care.”
More Doctors Running Doesn’t Mean Winning
While it’s true that physicians can make strong political candidates, it doesn’t mean they are more likely to win elections. While every election brings more and more doctors running for office, the number of doctors serving at any one time is increasing more slowly. There are currently 18 physicians serving in the U.S. Congress and nearly 100 in state legislatures.
No Surprise Here: Patients Want to Be Heard
The qualities that would inspire patients to vote for their physicians differ from those that would keep them as patients. Patients most want:
- To be listened to and have their health concerns taken seriously (67%)
- Enough time and attention to ask questions (55%)
- A doctor with years of experience (46%)
- Empathy, a personal connection, and an enriching doctor-patient relationship (45%)
Or They’ll Go Elsewhere
Patients are more likely to seek another physician when these and other needs aren’t met, saying they are most likely to do so if:
- Their doctor doesn’t listen to them or take their health concerns seriously (59%)
- It takes too long to get an appointment (44%)
- Their doctor has an unpleasant bedside manner (43%)
- The location is too far (42%)
- They feel rushed during appointments (39%)
- Their doctor is often late to appointments (33%)
- The office hours aren’t convenient (32%)
- The doctor does not offer up-to-date digital experiences, such as an easy-to-use patient portal, electronic prescribing, electronic records, and online scheduling options (27%)
“As more people have ‘consumer-level’ expectations for their healthcare experiences, physicians should note what may lead their patients to look for other practices,” said Banas. “While some of the findings may be expected by most doctors, such as patients wanting to feel heard, a pleasant bedside manner, and convenient location and hours, others may catch them off guard. For example, over a quarter of patients say that not offering up-to-date digital experiences could be a deal-breaker.”
DrFirst’s solutions keep physicians and their patients connected, communicating, and in sync across the care journey through medication management services, including e-prescribing, medication history, prescription price transparency, and iPrescribe, the industry leading mobile prescribing app.
A national online survey of 1,023 U.S. consumers, ages 18 and over, was conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of DrFirst in October 2022. Survey responses were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region, and ethnicity. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.