DALLAS - A HealthMine survey of 500 insured consumers who use mobile/internet-connected health applications released Sunday found that 39% still have not heard of telemedicine. What's more, only one third of respondents say their health plan offers telehealth as an option.
However, 93% of those who have used telemedicine say it has lowered their healthcare costs.
"Telehealth will find its place in the health services market as did urgent care centers," noted Bryce Williams, HealthMine president and CEO. "Health plan sponsors can play a significant role in educating their members about optimal options for treatment."
Telemedicine allows patients to connect with healthcare practioners through smartphones, computers and other devices. It can be a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional healthcare. Remote visits tend to be faster and less expensive than most visits to the doctor's office, emergency rooms or urgent care clinics. And 55% of respondents who have access to telemedicine have used it.
Despite the potential benefits of telehealth when used appropriately, many Americans still prefer traditional, in-person provider visits. As many as 42% of respondents who haven't used telehealth say they prefer a doctor office visit. But, more than a quarter of consumers simply don't know when it is appropriate to use telemedicine versus traditional medicine.
Why consumers aren't using telemedicine:
- 42% prefer to see a traditional provider;
- 28% don't know when it is appropriate to use;
- 14% don't trust a virtual provider to diagnose/treat; and
- 14% not sure if it's covered by health insurance.
When asked which medical services they would consider using telehealth for (as opposed to traditional medicine), respondents answered:
- 44% would use for follow-up care for acute illness;
- 44% would use for symptom tracking/diagnosis;
- 44% would use for medication management/prescription renewal;
- 34% would use for follow-up care for a chronic condition;
- 31% would use for remote monitoring of vital signs; and
- 24% would use for behavioral/mental health.
Only 11% reported they would not use telehealth no matter the service provided.
The HealthMine Survey queried 500 consumers who use mobile and/or Internet-connected health applications/devices, and are enrolled in a 2016 health plan. The survey was fielded by Survey Sampling International in March of 2016. Data were collected via an opt-in panel. The margin of error is 4%.