The high cost of patients skipping doctor’s appointments is a growing problem in the United States. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in five Americans (18%) missed a doctor’s appointment in the past year. This equates to over 100 million missed appointments each year.
There are a number of reasons why patients skip doctor’s appointments. Some common reasons include:
- Cost: The cost of healthcare in the United States is a major barrier for many people. Even those with health insurance may have to pay copays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Transportation: Lack of transportation can make it difficult for people to get to doctor’s appointments. This is especially true for people who live in rural areas or who have limited mobility.
- Lack of childcare: Many parents find it difficult to find childcare for their children when they have doctor’s appointments. This can be a major barrier, especially for single parents or parents who work during the day.
- Fear of the doctor: Some people have a fear of the doctor or of medical procedures. This can lead them to avoid doctor’s appointments, even when they are needed.
The high cost of patients skipping doctor’s appointments has a number of negative consequences. These consequences include:
- Increased risk of chronic diseases: People who skip doctor’s appointments are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This is because they are less likely to get the preventive care they need, such as screenings and vaccinations.
- Increased risk of emergency room visits: People who skip doctor’s appointments are more likely to end up in the emergency room. This is because they often wait until their condition is serious before seeking care.
- Increased cost of healthcare: The high cost of emergency room visits is a major burden on the healthcare system. In fact, emergency room visits account for nearly one-third of all healthcare spending in the United States.
There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the number of patients who skip doctor’s appointments. These include:
- Making healthcare more affordable: This can be done by expanding access to health insurance, reducing the cost of prescription drugs, and providing financial assistance to people who need it.
- Improving transportation options: This can be done by providing more public transportation and by expanding ride-sharing programs.
- Providing childcare: This can be done by providing on-site childcare at medical offices or by providing financial assistance to parents who need it.
- Reducing the fear of the doctor: This can be done by providing patient education and by creating a more welcoming environment at medical offices.
By taking these steps, we can help to reduce the number of patients who skip doctor’s appointments and improve the overall health of the population.