The Top 6 Reasons Women Choose to Skip Annual Gynecological Exams

The Top 6 Reasons Women Choose to Skip Annual Gynecological Exams

Annual gynecological exams are an important part of maintaining a woman’s overall health. Unfortunately, all too often, women choose to skip those exams–for a wide range of reasons. By identifying some of the reasons why women choose to skip those important exams, your office can do a better job of bringing women in for those appointments.

 

Reason #1: Finding Time is a Challenge

Women today are incredibly busy. Many of them have children to care for as well as jobs to handle–and that’s not counting taking care of a household, running errands, and taking on a wide range of other tasks. Finding time for self-care–including setting up important gynecological appointments–often falls on the back burner, especially since women need to remember to schedule those appointments.

Finding a Solution

If women who use your office tend to be short on time, streamline the process of scheduling. Issue reminders on an annual basis, letting them know that they need to make that appointment. When possible, offer flexible scheduling arrangements, including Saturday appointments or later evening appointments, that make it possible for women to make those appointments for a time that genuinely works with their schedules.

 

Reason #2: Women Feel Disrespected in the Doctor’s Office

Many patients feel disrespected by the healthcare system as a whole. For women who are scheduling a gynecological exam, which involves a very private exam, feeling disrespected by the office can make attending that appointment extremely daunting. As a result, women put off those appointments for as long as possible.

Finding a Solution

As a practice, make sure to prioritize respect for all of your patients. Patients expect empathy, autonomy, and the ability to make decisions for themselves. Doctors should also recognize how challenging gynecological appointments can be for women and provide them with the necessary support to move through those appointments with less emotional upheaval.

 

Reason #3: Gynecological Exams Equipment is Often Uncomfortable

Some women are more sensitive to the discomfort that goes along with a gynecological exam than others. The design of the original speculum goes back to the 1840s, in particular, causes many women significant discomfort during the exam. As a result, women put off scheduling their exams for as long as possible to put off that discomfort. With more comfortable equipment, on the other hand, women may be more likely to attend their gynecologist appointments.

Finding a Solution

Offering more comfortable equipment, including a more comfortable speculum, can make gynecological appointments much more bearable for many women. In fact, many Providing the option for more comfortable positions may also make women more likely to attend their appointments.

 

Reason #4: Women Expect Excessive Wait Times

In many offices, including gynecologist’s offices, wait times may quickly rise. Some women expect those wait times when they schedule their appointments. They know that they’re going to be in the office for a long time, and they aren’t eager to deal with it. Unfortunately, scheduling challenges can change the way even the most efficient doctor’s office runs. Most offices simply expect their patients to wait it out. Unfortunately, with their busy schedules, many women feel that they cannot afford to spend that time in the office.

Finding a Solution

If your office regularly runs behind, it’s time to figure out a new way to handle scheduling your appointments. You might need to bring in another doctor to help handle excess patients, or you might find that leaving a little more time between patients can help you meet your goals each day. When emergencies do arise, let patients know what’s going on–and give them a chance to reschedule their appointments, if needed. The sooner you connect with your patients to let them know that there’s a problem, the more likely they are to appreciate the respect your office offers them.

 

Reason #5: Women Don’t Recognize the Importance of Preventative Appointments

gynecological exams

 

Much of the time, women don’t make appointments because they simply fail to recognize the importance of preventative appointments–especially in lower-income populations. Without that education, they may fail to recognize why they need to make their gynecological appointments. Many women take the stance that as long as they feel all right, there’s not a problem. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case–as you know all too well.

Finding a Solution

If you want to bring women into your office, prioritize educating them. Make sure they understand how often they really need to come in, and give them all the information they need about specific conditions and other challenges they face. Be honest with your patients. If you know that a woman is overall in good health and might not need to come in for a little longer, let her know that she can wait before scheduling her next appointment.

 

Reason #6: Cost Quickly Becomes a Serious Factor

In many populations, lack of health insurance poses an immediate barrier to attending regular appointments. Worse, women may not have the funds to seek medical care. While lower-income populations may rely on state insurance, mid-income populations may find the cost of medical care prohibitive. Thus, they might not have access to health insurance. With the high cost of medical care, many patients may skip annual exams and even avoid appointments when they know they have health problems, hoping that they will resolve on their own.

Finding a Solution

Where possible, offer as many payment options for your patients as you can. Provide reasonable payment schedules and work with insurance companies to try to offer a high quality of care for your patients, even those in low-income populations.

 

Learn More About Annual Gynecological Exams

Do you need better equipment to make it more comfortable for women at gynecological exams? We can help. With a redesigned speculum and other exam equipment, we can help you provide a better experience for your patients. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

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