Poll: Tennesseans put a lot of faith in pharmacists

Published 5:24 pm Monday, October 30, 2023

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Tennessee voters would support allowing licensed pharmacists to treat common illnesses such as strep throat or the flu and would consider visiting a pharmacist for such treatment, according to a new poll.

The Beacon Center, a nonprofit policy center that supports free market solutions to public policy, polled 1,181 potential Tennessee voters and found they were open to expanded responsibilities for pharmacists.

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Of those who earlier said they would not use the service 11% said they would visit a pharmacist if the cost were significantly less than visiting a doctor.

The poll showed government regulations (24%), pharmaceutical companies (23%) and patients’ overuse of services (7%) were the most-blamed reasons for high health care costs in the United States.

Tennessee residents (45%) said that they support changing certificate of need regulations that mean health care providers need government permission to open new hospitals or clinics while 13% oppose changing those regulations.

When asked about telemedicine, 37% said they have heard of it but never used it while 20% have used it a few times with a positive experience, 16% are unfamiliar with telemedicine and 15% have used it but prefer in-person visits.

Of those who haven’t used telemedicine, 63% are uninterested in trying it in the future while 26% are interested.

Next, the poll asked how Tennessee residents rate the hospitals available in their area with 39% saying it is excellent or above average, 37% rating it average and 23% below average.

The ratings for doctors’ offices were similar with 36% above average, 48% average and 14% below average. For mental health services, however, the ratings were 12% above average, 26% average, 29% below average and 32% unsure.

Of those polled, 45% said they avoid going to see a doctor due to the potential cost while 34% said they did not avoid doctors for financial reasons.

The poll also showed that 67% believe that mental high issues for kids and teenagers are an issue in their area while 7% believe it is not an issue and 14% are unsure.