Americans Are Willing to Travel For Specialized Care, Study Says

In order to receive top-quality specialized care for a good price, Americans are willing to travel outside of their zip code. In fact, a new study finds that 90% of United States residents would consider traveling for specialized care.

The study from MyBioSource surveyed 670 Americans with long-term health conditions about seeking specialized care outside their location.

Researchers found that primary care serves as the main contact for those seeking medical intervention, with patients coordinating care with a general practitioner. On the other hand, specialty care is provided by specialists in their respective fields, such as cardiology, neurology, gynecology, and oncology — just to name a few.

MyBioSource found that nine in 10 respondents were open to traveling for health treatments when necessary. A majority, 55%, say they are willing to go out-of-state, if not further, to receive specialized care. In fact, 23% of survey participants with long-term health conditions have already received specialized care outside of their city of residence. One-quarter of respondents are considering following suit.

Creative team member at MyBioSource, Aditya Sachdeva, says survey results highlight the fact that Americans are seeking the best quality care, even if it means some travel is involved.

“When it comes to medical care, the trend of Americans traveling to see specialists speaks to the importance of quality over proximity,” Sachdeva tells Healthnews. “Patients prioritize finding top specialists and treatment outcomes, even if it means traveling to healthcare hubs like Miami or Tampa, which are known for their excellence in medical services and high patient satisfaction.”

Traveling out of state for care does come with added costs, however. Travel-related expenses are the number-one concern for Americans going outside their zip code to receive specialized care. Other worries include meeting new providers, time away from family duties, and time off work. Luckily, telehealth consultations with a specialist are growing in popularity among Americans.

“The fact that 70% of participants are open to telehealth consultations reflects a growing trend toward convenience in healthcare,” Sachdeva says. “Telehealth minimizes the need for travel and offers patients the flexibility to consult with specialists who they might not have access to locally.”

For those who did travel out of state, 87% of respondents were satisfied with the specialized care they received in another location.

Best cities for specialized care

MyBioSource ranked the top healthcare hubs across the 50 largest cities in the U.S. by using data from Google Trends, Google Reviews, and Indeed.

Miami and Tampa, both Florida cities, ranked as the best locations for specialized care. Miami was ranked the top city for gastroenterology, endocrinology, neurology, and cardiology. Meanwhile, Tampa was the number one destination for dermatology and oncology.

According to the Population Reference Bureau, Florida has the second-highest percentage of its population over the age of 65. Florida is also the second-fastest-growing state in the U.S., just a tick behind South Carolina.

Florida stands out as a premier destination for specialized medical care due, in large part, to its comprehensive service offerings tailored to a diverse and aging population. Cities like Miami and Tampa offer top-notch care, reflected in their high patient satisfaction scores. Florida’s approach to providing comprehensive services to a broad demographic that includes seniors and people who have immigrated cement its status as a healthcare leader.

Sachdeva

Cities with highest-rated specialist doctors:

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Dallas, Texas
  3. Charlotte, North Carolina
  4. Nashville, Tennessee
  5. Houston, Texas

Cities with the lowest-rated specialist doctors:

  1. El Paso, Texas
  2. Fresno, California
  3. Louisville, Kentucky
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  5. Aurora, Colorado

Representing the Peach State, Atlanta came in as the eighth-best city for specialized care. MyBioCare found Atlanta to be the top city for psychiatry, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and pulmonology.

On the West Coast, Long Beach was ranked the top city for orthopedics and cosmetic surgeries. In the survey portion of their study, MyBioSource found 30% of respondents were willing to travel for cosmetic surgery.

Other top cities for specialized care included Washington D.C. for gynecology and obstetrics, along with Boston for urology and Minneapolis for rheumatology. A complete list of findings is available at MyBioSource.


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