2020 has been a big year for the expansion of telehealth, virtual visits and other connected care solutions. This, of course, began as a side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related social distancing and lockdown orders. However, it has now become obvious that the widespread use of telehealth will not end with the fall of COVID-19. If anything, patient adoption of these virtual care solutions is only accelerating as the year goes on.
An Updox survey conducted back in May of 2020 reported that 42 percent of Americans had begun using telehealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among respondents who had used telehealth services, 65 percent said they liked it because it was more convenient than an in-office visit and 63 percent said they liked it because it removed risks of COVID infection.
Another survey performed by doctor.com just a month later (June 2020), found that 50 percent of responding patients had actively used telehealth in the last three months. Among the 50 percent who had not used telehealth, the majority (58 percent) claimed that this was only because they’d “not had a health issue that required seeing a physician.” Perhaps the most impressive number from this survey came from responses to the question, “How likely are you to make a telemedicine appointment after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?” A whopping 83 percent of respondents claimed they would.
More recently, a survey by PatientPop released earlier this month found that a vast majority of patients are happy with telehealth. While about half of respondents claimed they had used telehealth in 2020 (along the same lines as past surveys’ findings), an incredible 75.8 percent of respondents claimed they were satisfied with their telehealth appointments. Even more surprisingly, the 45-60 age group made up the largest percentage of these patients. Even among patients who had not used telehealth, 67.1 percent of them claimed they would be comfortable if they needed to use a virtual care option.
Patients Choose the Time Savings and Convenience of Telehealth
The previously cited PatientPop survey also found that patient preference toward telehealth is about more than just “staying away from sick people” (though of course that was a reason as well). When asked what advantages led to their use of telehealth, 61.5 percent of respondents chose “Saves time/faster appointments” as the main reason, and 47.5 percent claimed they preferred telehealth due to “Shorter wait times before appointments.” Lastly, 36.9 percent of respondents claimed they preferred telehealth because of the “Overall convenience and comfort” it provided.
It is now abundantly clear that the rise of telehealth isn’t going anywhere, and it will certainly remain long after the COVID-19 crisis has ended. The days of connected care being seen as a luxury option are over. Patients now see telehealth as an expected service, one that at least half of Americans prefer over in-office visits. With an aging population and an expected physician shortage on the near horizon in the United States, the demand for telehealth will only continue to grow as more and more patients begin to see connected care as a preference.
To learn more about how specialty practices are changing to meet patient needs in the Age of Telehealth, check out our whitepaper here. If you’d like to discover how Nextech’s telehealth solution can help your practice meet the growing demand for connected care, fill out this form and a member of our team will be in touch soon!