Americans want physicians to be responsible for their medical care, survey finds

February 2, 2011

The majority of Americans want physicians to have primary responsibility for their medical care, but many are confused about the qualifications of healthcare professionals.

The majority of Americans want physicians to have primary responsibility for their medical care, but many are confused about the qualifications of healthcare professionals.

A recent American Medical Association (AMA) survey found that 83% of respondents want physicians to be in charge of their healthcare. But it also revealed uncertainty as to who is considered a medical doctor. For example, when asked if an orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor, 16% of respondents answered either “no” or “not sure,” while 31% believed a nurse practitioner is a medical doctor or they weren’t sure.

“Although 90% of those surveyed said that a medical doctor’s additional years of education and training are vital to optimal patient care, the survey found much confusion about the qualification of healthcare professionals,” said Rebecca Patchin, MD, an AMA board member.

Results of the survey were released to coincide with introduction of the Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act of 2011, which bans deceptive advertising by healthcare professionals. Several states, including Arizona, California, and Illinois, have already enacted similar legislation.