Survey Shows Appointment Scheduling Hassles A Factor In Avoiding Care

F.J. Thomas

Sarasota, FL ( – The pandemic has created challenges for just about all employers to stem the spread of the virus. However, in the healthcare sector the challenges of scheduling patients could be a potential factor in whether or not patients seek out medical care. Since the pandemic, one in five people have cancelled or delayed getting treatment for a serious medical condition. Additionally, 57 percent have stated that the delay in treatment has resulted in negative side effects.

Healthcare technology company Tempus surveyed 1,078 people on their reasons for not getting the medical care they needed this last year. The respondents were comprised of 49 percent females and 51 percent males, with an average age of 39 in an age range of 18 to 70.

Of those polled, 59 percent had symptoms but did not seek out medical treatment. Additionally, of those that had symptoms, 79 percent had an at-risk condition for COVID-19, such as diabetes, cancer, and chronic lung and heart conditions.

When asked why they did not seek out medical treatment for the symptoms they were experiencing, 58 percent cited fear of contracting COVID-19. Cost was reported as a reason by 51 percent, followed by the hassle of making an appointment at 34 percent. Twenty-nine percent stated that their provider stopped taking patients. Twenty-nine percent stated they had lost their health insurance, and 26 percent stated they did not want to go through the bother of going to the appointment.

Those patients that were already in the course of care pulled back from seeking medical care as 61 percent cancelled or suspended treatment. Additionally, 66 percent with at-risk comorbidities either postponed or cancelled their appointments. The same held true for children, as 50 percent of parents either cancelled or postponed medical visits.

Overall, 66 percent of those polled had cancelled their routine health checkups. Of them,83 percent had at risk co-morbidities. Sixty-three percent cancelled their screenings due to fear of contracting COVID-19. Cost of care was listed as a factor by 43 percent who cancelled their checkups. Twenty-nine percent stated they cancelled their health screenings due to inability to get in to see their physician.

When asked about their reasons for cancelling an appointment, the responses held consistent with reasons for avoiding seeking medical treatment. Fifty-seven percent reported that they were afraid of contracting COVID-19, cost was cited as a reason for appointment cancellations by 46 percent, followed by limited available appointment slots at 35 percent. Loss of insurance was reported by 28 percent, followed by healthcare providers not taking appointments at 27 percent. The annoyance of scheduling an appointment was reported by 23 percent. Seventeen percent stated they cancelled or postponed their appointment due to the hassle of going to the appointment.

Finances played a critical role in seeking out medical treatment as 48 percent of all respondents stated they did not seek medical attention due to loss of insurance or income. Additionally, 31 percent stated they had stopped taking one or more of their medications due to the same reason.

The full survey results are available on the Tempus website.

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