The survey, published Tuesday, was from Parsley Health, a virtual primary care company that serves employers. It included responses from 1,271 women ages 18 to 60. All of the women were employed full-time and had health insurance.
When asked what they want from their healthcare benefits, 49% of employed women said they want “comprehensive support” from one doctor instead of getting a bunch of specialist referrals, according to the survey. Another 44% said they want more solutions for their “specific health concerns,” such as fatigue, stomach issues or mental health. In addition, 40% of women want access to a doctor who diagnoses the “root cause” of their condition and 39% want better care management services, like treatment plans and visit scheduling.
About 71% of working women said they would leave their jobs for better benefits, the survey also found.
“There is a substantial amount of the workforce suffering from chronic conditions, whether they be GI, autoimmune, mental health, cardiometabolic, or hormonal. We know that these conditions are costly, and this survey illustrates they are also debilitating. … We need to implement these solutions not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the right fiscal choice,” said Tony Clapsis, Parsley Health board member, in a statement.
Parsley also discovered that 47% of women said their health issues have impacted their productivity at work in the last 60 days, and 43% have missed one or more days of work because of health issues in the same time period. The top issues affecting their health were fatigue, headaches/migraines, general malaise, infection, mental health, physical pain and stomach issues.
“We know from McKinsey research that companies that hire and retain more women are more profitable. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw women leave the workforce en masse,” said Dr. Robin Berzin, founder and CEO of Parsley Health, in a news release. “Women are now coming back in record numbers but they are coming back sick. We need the right systems in place to help them get well for their health – and for the health of the economy.”
In addition, women are struggling to get the care they need to treat their condition. About 80% of women said they delayed care until their symptoms worsened. Their reasons for delaying care included not having time to see a doctor, being discouraged from a previous experience at the doctor, the cost of receiving care and being worried they’ll just be prescribed more medication.
About 67% of women reported they are struggling to get a clear diagnosis. Of this group, a quarter said they are still waiting for their diagnosis or have given up. Just 33% said they’re confident in their diagnosis.
“Symptoms and comorbidities for this population are often interrelated and point to bigger, chronic health issues. … We can’t address or treat a problem that hasn’t been properly identified,” said Dr. Darcy McConnell, director of medical affairs at Parsley Health, in a statement.
Photo credit: Aleksei Morozov, Getty Images