Cabarrus, Virginia (Reuters) – The American family medicine cabinet is a place to store everything from toilet paper to ice cream, according to a family physician.
The latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey found nearly two-thirds of Americans said they would rather have an in-person doctor visit than a pharmacy or an office, while nearly two in three would rather take their medicine in person than buy it online.
But the survey also showed nearly two thirds of those who use family medicine cabinets said they have seen their doctor in person or online.
The survey found more than a quarter of Americans believe that an online doctor is a better option than a doctor who has an office visit.
Healthcare experts say that can have an impact on the health of the patient.
“Online doctors are more likely to be very expensive and have higher costs per visit,” said Dr. Mary Ann Sacco, the director of clinical medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
The family medicine market is a $20 billion industry, accounting for roughly 10% of total U.S. healthcare spending, according the Healthcare Industry Association.
Sacco said that the increased cost of online providers also is a barrier to doctors seeing patients in person, especially for people with chronic conditions.
“We are really in this time of change with all of the technology and we need to look at what our physicians are seeing,” she said.
A study in January found that people who have health insurance pay nearly $500 more for their insurance than people who don’t.
But a study in March showed that for people in the top income quintile, the cost of a prescription drug is only $2.15 more than for people who make less than $60,000 a year.
Doctors say online doctors are a good choice, even if they charge a premium.
“There is not a shortage of people who want to go to an online medical provider.
We have all of these doctors who are able to do their jobs,” said David J. Hylton, executive director of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“They are a great option.”
Hylton said the cost savings can be enormous.
“The price of a visit is not the same for everyone,” he said.
“People are able access to the same doctor for $100 or less.
If a family member needs treatment, that is going to be covered by the insurance.”