With an exponential growth in telemedicine providers and services made available in recent years, telehealth is anticipated to alter the fabric of the health care delivery landscape. Two recently published studies conducted by Harris Poll surveyed over 4,100 American adults to assess their perceptions of telehealth heading into 2017. Highlights from those studies and their implications for the industry are discussed below.
Consumers are delaying needed care.
- Over two-thirds of respondents admit that they have delayed seeking care for a health problem, attributed to: cost (23%), how long it takes to see their provider (23%), thinking the problem would work itself out (36%), or their own busy schedules (13%).
- Amongst this group, 31% were delaying care for what they considered to be serious health concerns.
Video visits offer a viable solution.
- It takes most Americans almost three weeks to see their doctor after booking an appointment, with an average of 121 minutes spent per in-person visit. Only 20 minutes of the latter figure were actually spent with a clinician; the other 101 minutes were comprised of travel logistics and time in the waiting room.
- Conversely, Southwest Medical Associates reported an average video visit duration of less than 15 minutes—10 of which were spent with a provider.
Patients are willing to see physicians who offer video visits.
- Of respondents with a primary care provider (PCP), 65% were interested in conducting video visits rather than visiting the doctor’s office.
- The survey calculated that over 50 million Americans would be willing to switch PCPs to a provider that offered video visits.
Consumers see many applications for telehealth.
- Over 50% of American adults suffer from a chronic condition such as diabetes, and over 60% of consumers would be willing to manage their treatment via video visits.
- 1 in 5 indicated that they would prefer to receive “middle of the night care” through a telemedicine visit, rather than making a trip to the ER.
- Almost 80% of respondents seeking a prescription refill would prefer a video visit, and over half of women would prefer to utilize telemedicine for management of their birth control.
The results of these studies thoroughly illustrate consumers’ mounting acceptance of telemedicine services. As the industry continues to grow, so does its place at the forefront of modern health care.