2023 Patient Experience Survey Finds Disenchantment with Healthcare System

By Christopher Cheney

Two-thirds of U.S. adults surveyed by The Harris Poll reported that managing healthcare is “overwhelming” and “time-consuming.”

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA). The survey, which features data collected from more than 2,500 adults, was conducted from Feb. 23 to March 9.

The survey was conducted to get the patient perspective on U.S. healthcare, AAPA CEO Lisa Gables, CPA, said in a prepared statement. “So much has changed in healthcare since the pandemic, and the focus has largely been on the strain that healthcare teams are experiencing. Certainly, we have to address that as we know it impacts the resiliency and strength of our healthcare workforce. However, AAPA wanted to understand from the patient perspective what is and isn’t working in healthcare today.”

The survey generated several key findings:

  • Survey respondents reported that they spend the equivalent of an eight-hour workday per month coordinating healthcare for themselves and/or loved ones
  • The survey found 73% of adults feel that the healthcare system fails to meet their needs in some way
  • The survey found 71% of adults are concerned that the demands on healthcare providers are onerous
  • The survey found 68% of adults worry that healthcare workforce shortages will impact patients
  • The survey found 66% of adults reported that healthcare providers appear to be more rushed than in the past
  • The survey found 47% of adults believe their healthcare providers are burned out or overburdened
  • Nearly one-third of survey respondents reported feeling rushed during a healthcare appointment
  • The survey found that 61% of adults only seek healthcare services when they are sick
  • The survey found 44% of adults have skipped or delayed care in the past two years, with 40% saying the reason was concern about cost
  • The survey found 64% of adults want healthcare providers to spend more time understanding them, with 49% of survey respondents reporting that healthcare providers do not always listen to them
  • The survey found 67% of adults reported that their health would improve if they worked regularly with a healthcare provider they trusted
  • The survey found 54% of adults would feel more comfortable working with a healthcare provider who shares their background
  • The survey found 54% of adults reported that their health would improve if healthcare providers helped them figure out the healthcare system

The survey shows patients are struggling with the healthcare system, which can impact health outcomes, John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, said in the survey report. “What struck me from the research we conducted on behalf of AAPA is how clearly the findings demonstrate how the system itself is getting in the way of people being able to take care of themselves as well as the ones they love. The system is costly, confusing, and it takes too long to get needed care. The result is that people want to engage with it less which can lead to even more health problems—both physical and mental.”

Difficulty engaging with healthcare providers has negative consequences, the survey report says. “Most adults admit that they only seek care for themselves when they are sick and delaying care or skipping it altogether is an all-too-common occurrence. This often comes with consequences: Many adults who have skipped or delayed care say they experienced negative impacts as a result. Forgoing care is not only detrimental in the case of a major health concern, but also prevents people from undergoing routine preventative care. In addition, the negative impacts often extend beyond patients themselves: Many of those who have helped someone coordinate care say their life was negatively impacted in some way as a result of helping someone navigate the healthcare system.”

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.