A person and their doctor

Health Union Survey Finds Cancer Patients Satisfied with Their Doctors, Autoimmune Patients Dissatisfied

—People with autoimmune conditions less likely to recommend their HCPs, less likely to feel they are thorough—

PHILADELPHIAMarch 11, 2019 — People living with various types of cancer are likely to feel satisfied with their healthcare providers (HCPs) and feel controlled on their current treatment plans, while people living with autoimmune conditions feel less satisfaction as it relates to their HCP and treatment. This and other findings from Health Union’s 2018 HCP Satisfaction Survey provide a deep understanding from patients – representing more than three dozen chronic conditions – of their perceptions of and satisfaction with the doctors they see most regularly.

More than eight in 10 cancer patients reported an overall high level of satisfaction with their HCPs – typically oncologists – while just over six in 10 patients with autoimmune conditions felt the same way about their providers. A significant portion of patients’ satisfaction could be attributed to the perceived effectiveness of respective treatment plans. Nearly seven in 10 cancer patients reported their conditions feel under control on their current treatment plans, while less than a third of autoimmune patients felt the same way.

The survey results indicate that people with cancer tend to think of their HCPs as personable and patient-focused. According to the results, cancer patients tend to be satisfied with their HCPs, feel their HCPs are thorough and believe they spend adequate time during appointments. They rate their HCPs highly on almost all patient-related tasks and interpersonal skills, including listening to concerns and caring about patients’ mental health. As such, they are likely to recommend their HCPs to others.

People with autoimmune conditions, on the other hand, are less likely than other surveyed patients to recommend their HCP. They are also less likely to feel their doctors are thorough; they rate their HCPs poorly on answering questions, reviewing test results and communicating effectively, including explaining how and when to take medications.

“Although the level of care and thoroughness doctors show patients with cancer is encouraging and shows an evolution toward a better understanding of patient needs, it’s unnerving to see that people living with other conditions don’t feel they receive a similar level of attention,” said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. “From interactions occurring within our communities, we know that HCP relationships can positively impact patients, regardless of their condition. The HCP Satisfaction Survey results, combined with engagement on each of our online health communities, are key to helping us better understand patients’ unmet needs in order to better serve them.”

One factor that might help to explain higher HCP satisfaction among cancer patients is the additional services frequently offered by their doctors. Patients with cancer reported that their HCPs often offer on-call staff on weekends and evenings and online portals to ask questions, access test results and schedule appointments. Patients with autoimmune conditions, on the other hand, were less likely to indicate their HCPs offered these services.

Health Union’s HCP Satisfaction Survey gathered perspectives from 3,889 U.S. respondents who had been diagnosed with a chronic health condition; the survey fielded Sept. 5 to Oct. 1, 2018. A summary infographic of the results is available on all of Health Union’s communities. Additional survey results may be available upon request.

Of the 20 communities Health Union currently hosts and maintains, six are oncology-specific: AdvancedBreastCancer.net, BladderCancer.net, Blood-Cancer.com, LungCancer.net, ProstateCancer.net and SkinCancer.net. Another six are autoimmune conditions: AtopicDermatitis.net, InflammatoryBowelDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net, PlaquePsoriasis.com, Psoriatic-Arthritis.com and RheumatoidArthritis.net.

About Health Union

Health Union encourages social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online ecosystems – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 20 online health communities, including ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net, Blood-Cancer.com and Type2Diabetes.com.