Report: Virtual Health Care Consultations Will Increase Significantly

March 10, 2014 in News

The number of U.S. households that use video conferencing for physician consultations likely will reach 22.6 million in 2018 — up from 900,000 last year, according to a report from Parks Associates, MobiHealthNews reports.

Report Findings

Consumers who are most likely to use virtual health care tools are between ages 18 and 34 and have annual household incomes of $50,000 or more, according to the report.

The report also found that by the third quarter of 2013, 28% of broadband households used online health care communication tools. Of those households:

  • 36% reported using such tools once;
  • 27% reported using such tools twice over a two-year period; and
  • 4% reported using such tools at least 10 times over a two-year period.

Of the 72% of households that did not use online health care communications tools:

  • 51% reported being comfortable with the concept of using online tools to communicate with doctors; and
  • 49% said they were not comfortable with the idea of using online tools to communicate with their doctors.

The report found that only 11% of U.S. broadband households prefer consulting with their doctors via video conference, compared with:

  • 68% who prefer in-person physician visits;
  • 59% who prefer telephone consultations; and
  • 38% who prefer email communications.

Predicted Increase in Use

Parks Associates said that the use of virtual health care technology is likely to increase as meaningful use requirements call on providers to offer such services to patients.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

As the use of health care-related video consultations increases, related revenues are projected to increase from below $100 million in 2013 to $13.7 billion in 2018, according to Parks Associates (Pai, MobiHealthNews, 3/6).

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