Survey: Patients Cite Convenience as Top Motivator for Telehealth Usage

Oct. 4, 2016
Active healthcare users are interested in using telehealth as a replacement or complement to in-person care, citing convenience as the top motivator, according to a survey conducted by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

Active healthcare users are interested in using telehealth as a replacement or complement to in-person care, citing convenience as the top motivator, according to a survey conducted by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA).

However, the survey results also indicate that among these consumers confusion persists on whether their health provider offers telehealth options or if telehealth is covered by their insurer.

The survey was a joint project between the ATA and Wego Health, a digital health company that developed a health social network platform, and the survey results were released last week at the ATA’s Fall Forum in New Orleans.

Survey respondents were polled on their use of video-conferencing to interact with their healthcare provider. Of the 429 respondents, 22 percent had used video conferencing to meet with a provider, with the majority interacting with their provider while at home. Among these users, telehealth was requested by the patients as much as it was suggested with 50 percent of users having asked their provider for a video appointment and 50 percent reporting that their provider had offered telehealth as an appointment option.

Of the survey respondents, 78 percent had not used telehealth in the last year, and a majority of these respondents said they thought telehealth would be more convenient, even though their provider did not offer virtual appointments. This demographic reported that ease of scheduling, reduced travel, and increased access to care for immobile patients would motivate them to choose virtual visits over in-person care.

“Clearly consumers are not only becoming aware of telemedicine but starting to demand access to it,” Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association said in a prepared statement.  “It is becoming a part of the standard of care that should be made available throughout the country.”

The survey results also indicate that respondents did not have any concerns about the quality of telehealth over traditional care as patients who reported having used telehealth in the past year did so an average of one to four times.

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