HEALTH

Almost 80% of Americans would consider a virtual visit with their healthcare professional

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Nearly eight in 10 Americans (78%) would consider seeing a healthcare professional virtually for at least one healthcare need, though not all needs seem to transition equally to this method, according to a new Harris Poll released Wednesday. Nearly half (47%) would see a healthcare professional virtually to discuss the effectiveness of regularly used prescriptions, while roughly four in 10 each would do so to diagnose cold or flu-like symptoms (43%) or for a consultation regarding allergies (39%).
 
Seniors over the age of 69 years were most likely (57%) to discuss the effectiveness of regularly used prescriptions through a video portal, followed by baby boomers (52%). 
 
Moving down the list of options, just over a third would consider opting to have a general wellness visit, regular checkup or preventative services (36%) or a regular checkup regarding regularly monitored biometrics (35%) virtually. Meanwhile just under a third would consider doing so to diagnose a rash (32%) or for one-time screening or lab services, such as blood sugar testing (30%). Roughly a fourth would consider this avenue for a regular checkup regarding a chronic condition (27%), to discuss a more urgent need regarding a chronic condition (26%), or to discuss treatment options of a sensitive nature (24%).
 
Americans are least likely to consider this a viable alternative for discussing treatment options for a life-threatening condition (18%), or for psychological or psychiatric consultations (with 22% saying they'd consider doing either a one-time or regular session virtually).
 
Seven in 10 Americans (70%) would be comfortable with a virtual checkup if it was with their own doctor or healthcare professional, while only about half as many (36%) would be comfortable having a virtual checkup with a doctor or healthcare professional they have not met in person. Meanwhile, only three in 10 Americans (31%) could consider letting their child see a healthcare professional virtually; this increases to just over four in 10 (42%) among those who currently live in households with children.
 
Nearly three-fourths of Americans (73%) believe that virtually monitoring or checking up on chronic conditions could help reduce hospital readmission rates; however, nearly two-thirds (65%) indicate that they'd have less faith in a diagnosis from a virtual consultation than an in-person one.
 
Diagnosis concerns are strongest among seniors over the age of 69 years (matures), who are more likely than any other generation to say they'd have reduced faith in a virtual diagnosis (77% matures vs. 63% each for baby boomers, Gen Xers and millennials).
 
What's more, majorities of Americans believe virtual healthcare consultations could make it easier for both healthcare practitioners (67%) and consumers (62%) to commit insurance fraud.
 
Americans seem to have an expectation that virtual consultations represent an opportunity to cut cost, with only 36% feeling doctors should be compensated the same amount for virtual appointments as for in-person ones; fewer still (28%) feel patients should be charged the same amount for virtual appointments as for in-person ones.
 
The Harris Poll surveyed 2,537 U.S. adults online between Aug. 13 and 18.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Reynolds American subsidiary to launch smoking cessation gum Zonnic

BY Michael Johnsen

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —  Reynolds American on Thursday will be sharing information on the national launch of Zonnic — a smoking cessation gum marketed by the company's subsidiary Niconovum USA — during its annual investor day presentation. 
 
Niconovum is targeting the convenience channel with the new smoking cessation launch with a value propositon – a pack of 10 pieces of nicotine gum retails for $3.85. The nicotine replacement therapy has been test marketed in Iowa since the fall of 2012 and is available in both 2-mg and 4-mg strengths. It is now ready for national distribution. 
 
"Zonnic, which performed very well in its initial markets of Iowa and Omaha is expected to be in about 8,000 selected outlets by the end of October," Susan Cameron, Reynolds American president and CEO, told investors last month. "It's national presence will continue to grow through the rest of this year."
 
 
 

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Chattem launches IcyHot SmartRelief TENS device

BY Michael Johnsen

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Chattem on Tuesday announced that IcyHot SmartRelief, a drug-free, over-the-counter pain management system, is now available nationwide.
 
SmartRelief delivers portable pain relief for persistent, chronic aching back muscles through a small, wireless battery-powered device. The device uses Transcutanous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) technology. TENS is a clinically proven method routinely used for decades by doctors and physical therapists to block the body’s pain signals by sending gentle electrical pulses along the nerve to intercept pain signals before they reach the brain. It also stimulates endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever. 
 
“I’ve spent countless hours in doctors’ offices over the years as a result of my chronic back pain,” stated former NBA Champion and IcyHot spokesperson Shaquille O’Neal. “IcyHot SmartRelief is groundbreaking — it’s wire free, lightweight and smaller than a credit card so I can wear it all day long. The relief it gives me is long lasting and, since I don’t need a prescription, I don’t miss a beat in my busy life off the court.” 
 
IcyHot SmartRelief is painless, easy to use and remove, and does not require assembly. The device snaps onto an adhesive pad that is placed over the painful area on the back. With the push of a button, SmartRelief activates two small electrodes that deliver TENS therapy. There are 63 intensity levels for customized pain relief and the device shuts off automatically after 30 minutes, though it is safe to use all day. 
 
“SmartRelief gives back pain sufferers safe, effective and affordable relief without the hassle and expense of a doctor visit,” said Lucas Mininger, IcyHot marketing director at Chattem. “Millions of Americans are dealing with chronic back pain on a daily basis and we are excited that SmartRelief is now available to help bring them relief and keep them active.”
 

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