A new study by a team from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation shows that adults over age 50 place more importance on convenience-related factors, rather than reputation, when choosing a doctor.
The study, based on data from IHPI’s National Poll on Healthy Aging supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, still shows that online ratings and reviews of physicians play an important role, and should receive attention from providers and policymakers.
Dr. Jeffrey Kullgren, a U-M primary care physician and lead author of the study, describes the findings.
When asked how likely they would be to get a COVID-19 vaccine when available and if no cost to them, 58% of older adults indicated they would be likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine (33% very likely, 25% somewhat likely), 28% said they were unlikely (11% somewhat unlikely, 17% very unlikely), and 14% were unsure or did not know.
About two in three older adults (63%) indicated they received a flu shot last flu season. Seven in ten either received one since August 2020 (34%) or intended to get one this flu season (38%). Nearly half of adults age 50–80 (49%) believed that getting a flu vaccine is more important this year compared to other years, 44% said it is just as important, and 7% said it was less important.
Interest in getting a COVID-19 vaccine was more common among those age 65–80 compared with those 50–64 (63% vs. 54%), men compared with women (64% vs. 52%), and Whites compared with Hispanics and Blacks (63% vs. 51% vs. 40%). Individuals who lived with others, had higher household incomes, or had more education were also more likely to report they would get a COVID vaccine.
Half of adults age 50–80 (52%) said they personally knew someone who had COVID-19, and 2% reported having had it themselves. One in five older adults (19%) indicated they personally knew someone who died from COVID-19. The likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine did not differ based on whether respondents knew someone who had COVID-19 or who died from it.
In deciding whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine, older adults rated the following as very important: how well it works (80%), their own research (56%), and if it was recommended by their doctor (52%), public health officials (42%), or family and friends (13%). Cost was rated as very important by 30% of older adults.
From 2019 to 2020, there was a substantial increase in the proportion of older adults who reported that their health care providers offered telehealth visits. In May 2019, 14% of older adults said that their health care providers offered telehealth visits, compared to 62% in June 2020.
Similarly, the percentage of older adults who had ever participated in a telehealth visit rose sharply from 4% in May 2019 to 30% in June 2020. Of those surveyed in 2020, 6% reported having a telehealth visit prior to March 2020, while 26% reported having a telehealth visit in the period from March to June 2020.
Over the past year, some concerns about telehealth visits decreased among adults age 50–80 whether or not they had a telehealth visit. Older adults’ concerns about privacy in telehealth visits decreased from 49% in May 2019 to 24% in June 2020, and concerns about having difficulty seeing or hearing health care providers in telehealth visits decreased from 39% in May 2019 to 25% in June 2020. Concerns about not feeling personally connected to the health care provider decreased slightly (49% to 45%).
This poll examined older adults’ experiences with nine forms of everyday ageism. These forms were categorized into three groups: (1) exposure to ageist messages, (2) ageism in interpersonal interactions, and (3) internalized ageism (personally held beliefs
about aging and older people).
From a National Poll on Aging (Univ. of Michigan) online release:
Among older adults age 50–80, 43% had ever reviewed doctor ratings; 14% had reviewed ratings more than once in the past year, 19% had done so once in the past year, and 10% had reviewed ratings more than one year ago.
Among older adults who had looked up doctor ratings within the past year, 65% read reviews of a doctor they were considering, 34% read reviews to find a new doctor, and 31% read reviews for a doctor they had already seen.
Ratings and reviews for nearly everything can be found online these days, including doctors. How are older adults using these ratings in their decisions about choosing doctors? In May 2019, the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging asked a
national sample of adults age 50–80 about their use and perceptions of online doctor ratings.