64% of Consumers Ready for Telehealth (survey)

As a technologist and founder of Modern Health Talk, I advocate for telehealth, including remote doctor visits by video, but I wondered about how ready consumers are for this vision of the future of healthcare. Well, market research from American Well, a telehealth company, answered that. Here’s a summary of their 2015 Telehealth Consumer Survey.

Are Consumers Ready for Telehealth?

  • Yes, MOST consumers (64%) are willing to have a video visit with a doctor.
    • More convenient (61%)
    • Saves time & money
    • Avoids need to drive
    • No delay waiting for appointment
    • No germs from hospitals & clinics
  • Some (36%) are still skeptical oftelehealth.
    • Too new & unfamiliar
    • Don’t know how it would work
    • Is it a Real doctor?
  • Telehealth interest spans ages but peaks in ages 18-44 (busy with job & family)

When sick or injured during odd hours and unable to go to their doctor, where do they go for care?

What options consumers would select for midd-of-the-night care

  • Consumers think of the ER first, with video visits 2nd
  • Video visits are preferred more by people with children (30%) than those with none (18%)
  • They prefer to select their doctor, not be randomly assigned, if given the option
  • 62% expect lower costs for online visits

How much should online visits cost versus in-person?

Doctor-Patient relationships are changing with online visits.

  • So far, just 7% of consumers would switch doctors to get online video visits (11% among young adults aged 18-34), but that is expected to grow.
  • Relationships of 2-4 years are most at risk for online switching.
  • 76% had doctor relationships of 2 years or more; 34% had less.

To retain patients, health systems should embrace telehealth.

  • 90% of healthcare organizations report already developing or implementing telehealth solutions.
  • They need an effective way of competing with new retail and urgent care models.
  • 71% of employers expected to offer telehealth services to workers by 2017, driven by cost savings.