Pain Relief for an Ailing Healthcare System

Alan Reisinger, Author
By A. Alan Reisinger, III, MD, FACP
February 27, 2024
patients waiting in a crowded waiting room

Here’s one doctor’s prescription for what patients can do to avoid burnout.

Healthcare can be a real headache that’s causing many Americans to avoid going to the doctor -- and that’s not healthy.

An MDVIP/Ipsos survey shows that 1 in 3 Americans are feeling burned out by their interactions with medical providers, and for good reason: 

  • 53% say the healthcare system treats patients more like a number than a person
  • 32% of adults have waited an hour or more to see a doctor
  • 30% have waited three months or more to get an appointment
  • 62% don’t feel healthcare bills are clear or easy to understand


Take Patient Frustration Quiz


Younger adults and people living with multiple chronic conditions (i.e. obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes) are particularly vulnerable to patient burnout, which can exacerbate illness and even impact their mental health.

Adults aged 26-44 

  • 33% have felt rushed or dismissed by the doctor during an appointment
  • 43% have skipped or delayed care
  • 20% say their mental health suffered due to their healthcare experience

Adults with 2+ conditions 

  • 30% have felt rushed or dismissed by the doctor during an appointment
  • 37% have skipped or delayed care
  • 23% say they had a health issue that worsened due to their healthcare experience


Choose a primary care doctor as your central point of contact

Our research shows that people who have a primary care physician (PCP) are more engaged patients and less frustrated overall with their healthcare. A significant 91% have seen a doctor in the last 12 months compared to only 41% of people without a PCP. Also, those with a PCP are less likely to feel rushed or dismissed by a doctor and find healthcare bills easier to understand.

Another study found that they also receive more preventive care (meaning tests, preventive care and treatments proven to affect more positive outcomes). A first step to easing your frustrations is simple.

Make sure you have a PCP – usually an internist or a family medicine doctor – whom you can turn to not only when you’re sick, but for preventive care.

Communicate with your primary doctor

Almost a quarter of Americans in our survey said that they've left a doctor's office feeling confused or unclear about their medical condition or what to do next. If you feel rushed or as if your doctor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, here are steps to help you improve communication:

  1. Bring a list. Before your appointment with your doctor, write down all of your symptoms and questions.
  2. Be thorough and honest. If you’ve stopped taking medication, had a medical procedure or started a new exercise class, it’s important to note these changes and share them with your doctor.
  3. Take notes. Jot down notes or bring a companion to the appointment to help you better digest information. If your doctor uses medical terminology you don’t understand, speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.

Know when it’s time to break up

Even if you do all this, you may still find that you’re not getting the attention you need. If this is the case, it may be time to find a new PCP. In fact, 1 in 4 Americans in our survey said they’ve switched to a different provider because of a negative experience.

If you’re looking for a doctor, you can ask friends for a recommendation, check online reviews or if you see other specialists, they may be able to refer you.  

Unlike many other primary care practices, physicians in the MDVIP network see fewer patients. This gives them more time to get to know you, build a relationship and serve as a guide to help you connect the dots and navigate the healthcare system.

About the Author
Alan Reisinger, Author
A. Alan Reisinger, III, MD, FACP

Dr. Reisinger is MDVIP’s Associate Medical Director. He practiced for 35+ years as a board-certified internal medicine specialist with a heart for people, a focus on prevention and a desire to see primary care delivered the way it was intended. Serving as a member and subsequent chairman of MDVIP’s medical advisory board, he has helped to lead the clinical direction of the organization since 2008 and has been a passionate advocate for aggressive cardiovascular prevention in our network.

Previously, Dr. Reisinger was on the medical advisory board for Cleveland HeartLab and currently is a member of the BaleDoneen Academy, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology and an advisory board member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health.

Integral to his calling is his commitment to improving patient care, and he is resolute in the need to foster enhanced collaboration between the medical and dental communities. He has lectured nationally on cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr. Reisinger has embraced the mission of changing the outcome of CVD, the leading cause of death in the world… “because we can.”

View All Posts By A. Alan Reisinger, III, MD, FACP
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