PCPs say paperwork, patient noncompliance, top barriers to providing optimal care

March 16, 2011

Insurance paperwork and patients who don?t follow instructions lead the list of your frustrations, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

Insurance paperwork and patients who don’t follow instructions lead the list of your frustrations, according to a Consumer Reports survey.

The volume and complexity of insurance paperwork is the top barrier to providing optimal care, primary care physicians reported. Second was the financial pressure that forces the majority of PCPs responding to the survey to work more than 50 hours a week.

Noncompliance with advice and treatment recommendations was the top complaint about patients. Of those surveyed, 37% said it affected their ability to provide optimal care “a lot.”

Forming a long-term relationship with a PCP is the most important action a patient can take to receive better care, according to the survey. Being respectful and courteous to their physicians was second. However, 70% of survey respondents said that respect and appreciation from patients had gotten worse.

Other findings: 37% of physicians said they keep records electronically only, up from 24% in 2007. A patient bringing a friend or relative along on office visits is a good idea, according to 80% of physicians, though only 28% of patients do so. While a majority of patients said they researched their conditions online, nearly half of physicians said online research helps patients very little or not at all.

Consumer Reports surveyed 660 primary care physicians last year and 49,000 subscribers in 2009 to create the study.