Survey Reveals Strong Demand for Telehealth Despite Access and Cost Confusion

By Jessica Washington posted 10-04-2016 14:54:11

  

A joint survey conducted by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and WEGO Health of active healthcare users shows that consumers are interested in using telehealth as a replacement or complement to in-person care, citing convenience as the top motivator. Confusion persists, however, largely on whether their health provider offers telehealth options or if telehealth is covered by their insurer. 

These results were released today at the ATA’s Fall Forum event in New Orleans in a panel discussion with WEGO Health. Survey respondents were polled on their use of video-conferencing to interact with their healthcare provider. Of the 429 respondents, 22% 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% of users having asked their provider for a video appointment and 50% reporting that their provider had offered telehealth as an appointment option. 

Of the 78% of respondents who had not used telehealth in the last year, a majority reported that 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,” said Jonathan D. Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association.  “It is becoming a part of the standard of care that should be made available throughout the country.”

Overwhelmingly, survey respondents demonstrated that the quality of telehealth over traditional care was not an issue when considering care. Patients who reported having used telehealth in the past year did so an average of 1-4 times.

View the full survey results here

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