Study: Majority of Patients Willing To Try Telehealth Appointments

September 9, 2014 in News

Nearly 70% of patients indicated a willingness to have a telehealth appointment with their health care provider, according to a study published in Telemedicine and e-Health, FierceHealthIT reports (Dvorak, FierceHealthIT, 9/8).

Study Details

For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic surveyed 263 patients over the telephone. Of the respondents:

  • 75% reported having broadband; and
  • 36% reporting having a Web camera (Gardner et al., Telemedicine and e-Health, August 2014).

Study Findings

Overall, the study found that many respondents expressed some willingness to see their provider via a video appointment. Specifically:

  • 38% said they were “very likely” to do so;
  • 28% said they were “somewhat likely” to do so; and
  • 33.8% said they were “not at all likely” to do so.

However, the study found a strong preference for face-to-face physician visits among respondents. For example, the study found:

  • 86% of patients who had never experienced a telehealth visit said they preferred to speak with their physicians in person; and
  • 64% of respondents who had participated in a telehealth visit said they preferred to meet in person (FierceHealthIT, 9/8).

According to the study, factors that determined whether patients wanted to use telehealth services included:

The researchers noted several barriers to widespread use of telehealth, including:

  • Cost;
  • Comfort with technology; and
  • Security of telehealth systems.

For example 75% of respondents said they would not use telehealth unless it was covered by their insurance (FierceHealthIT, 9/8).

The study authors concluded that while “significant hurdles” remain, the majority of patients “are likely to be accepting of telehealth care to the home using video call and that most have the required technology” (Clinical Innovation Technology, 9/8).

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