Survey finds some men prefer virtual health care

It’s no secret that men don’t love going to the doctor, but virtual visits may be a happy medium.

It’s no secret that men don’t love going to the doctor, but virtual visits may be a happy medium.

According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, 66% of men have tried digital healthcare in the past year and 29% said they prefer it.

“It’s becoming easier and easier to get access to care for any condition, particularly those that men may historically have been hesitant to come and have evaluated,” said Dr. Petar Bajic of Cleveland Clinic.

Nearly half of men -- 44% -- admit they’d rather speak with a doctor online or by phone because they’re too embarrassed to do it face-to-face.

“Many of the issues that men develop with age are intimate in nature and might pertain to sexual or urinary dysfunction,” he explained. “So, I think that the virtual visit allows them to feel like it’s a little bit more of a private conversation.”

Another obstacle men face when it comes to seeing a provider in person is finding time away from work, especially for men of color.

“Hispanic men, for example, about 50% of them reported that they had difficulty getting off work for routine medical care,” Bajic said. In addition, 25% of men of color and 20% of white men said they visit their physician less than once a year or never.

Bajic said preventive health screenings are a powerful tool in detecting conditions early when they’re still treatable. He stressed that men should make every effort to stay on schedule with routine care.

“There’s a lot of literature that would suggest that erectile dysfunction can actually be the first sign of cardiovascular disease. Urinary issues can sometimes be the first sign of diabetes or sleep apnea,” Bajic said. “So, even some of these men’s health issues that may be more quality of life related, get them checked out. We can often help you get back to normal function and also make sure that there’s not anything more serious going on.”