A new Patient Experience survey by MITRE-Harris has revealed that the majority (52%) of patients in the U.S. feel their symptoms are “ignored, dismissed, or not believed” by providers, with the number rising to 60% within the Hispanic community. The polling also revealed that more than half of consumers don’t know who to contact if they have an issue with a bill or insurance claim, and that one-fifth of patients reported having to wait more than two months for access to mental health providers, specialty physicians, dentists, or optometrists.
The survey results also indicate that certain groups are much more likely to experience doubt, bias, or language barriers when seeking treatment, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, persons with a disability or chronic health condition, and those responsible for managing access to healthcare for a family member or friend. More than half of Black and Hispanic respondents felt healthcare providers were biased against them based on attitude, words, or actions, and half of all respondents reported “a healthcare provider assuming something about me without asking me.”
“These findings confirm unacceptable disparities in patient experience along racial and ethnic lines, for the LGBTQ+ community, and for those who are managing chronic health conditions or navigating the world with disabilities,” said Juliette Forstenzer Espinosa, Senior Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act Marketplace Strategist MITRE. “And these categories are, of course, intersectional. There’s no question there is work to do to better serve all populations at the point-of-care.”
While many of the findings did not bode well for patient satisfaction, there were some positive developments. Reports of receiving an unexpected medical bill due to gaps in insurance coverage decreased to 43%, down from 47% in 2021, and nearly 90% of insured individuals reported using a patient portal to receive test results, make an appointment, access medical records, or for other uses — insured Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) groups were more likely to use portals than other surveyed groups.
The results of the poll make it clear that the healthcare industry, battered by years of pandemic stress on health systems, staffing shortages, and thinner margins, is still struggling to meet the needs of its patients. With any luck, these numbers will help providers focus their improvement efforts where they are needed the most, ensuring all patients can have access to quality care.