Survey Finds Strong Patient Interest in Using Telemedicine Services

January 30, 2015 in News

Three-quarters of patients who have never used telemedicine said they were interested in trying such services in place of an in-person medical visit, according to a survey by Software Advice, Healthcare Informatics reports (Leventhal, Healthcare Informatics, 1/28).

Details of Survey

The survey drew responses from 519 individuals over the course of two days, according to FierceHealthIT. Of the 519 respondents, 138 had used telemedicine while 381 had not (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 1/28).

Findings

The survey found that 39% of all respondents were “extremely interested” or “very interested” in using telemedicine services. Among respondents who had never used telemedicine services, 75% were interested in doing so.

Meanwhile, 71% of all respondents reported they would “strongly prefer” or “somewhat prefer” online care for minor medical ailments.

Respondents who have used telemedicine cited several benefits to such services, including:

  • Not having to travel for care, cited by 21%; and
  • Quality of care being equal to or greater than an in-person visit, cited by 21%.

Six percent said they saw no benefits to telemedicine.

Respondents with experience using telemedicine also listed several concerns they had about the technology, such as:

  • A “lack of in-person interaction,” cited by 21%;
  • Unfamiliarity with video technology, cited by 10%; and
  • Security concerns, cited by 2% (Irwin, Software Advice survey, 1/27)

More than half of all respondents were unsure whether their insurance covered telemedicine services (FierceHealthIT, 1/28).

Implications

The survey results support greater adoption of telemedicine to alleviate burdens on emergency department resources and staff, according to the researchers (Healthcare Informatics, 1/28).

They wrote that the findings indicate patients “are interested in using telemedicine to improve their overall experience. Thus, providers should consider how this technology can fulfill patients’ desires to access medical care from the comfort of home — while saving their practices valuable time and resources” (Software Advice survey, 1/27).

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