Emerging Technologies

Consumers Weigh Convenience and Trust in Telehealth Decisions, Survey Finds

The COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in convincing many patients to experience their first virtual healthcare visits, influencing the future use of telehealth, according to the Accelerate Health 2020 Consumer Telehealth survey.

The survey, conducted by HIMSS and Change Healthcare, was fielded for 10 days in September 2020, and the sample includes 2,052 individual consumers, balanced to the U.S. population. The results and analysis offer insight on consumer perception on telehealth, healthcare delivery and increasing digital technologies.

The research found that 40 percent of respondents have used any form of telehealth in the past six months, and 77 percent of respondents are willing to use some form of telehealth in the future.

Younger generations, Millennials and Gen Z, showed a greater willingness to use telehealth and a greater preference for it, while older generations, Boomers and Gen X, cited condition-specific needs, uncertainty about telehealth availability from their providers, and general distrust as reasons for preferring in-person visits. Income had little effect on respondents’ telehealth use.

More than a third of those surveyed have used a direct-to-consumer or online only provider. Analysis shows online-only providers offering a range of telehealth services may put significant downward pressure on traditional primary care revenue.

Telehealth price sensitivity also tied age to response trends, with half of younger users indicating they are willing to pay more out-of-pocket for a telehealth visit than an office visit.

Nearly 73 percent of the people surveyed cited security and privacy of a telehealth visit as important. 65 percent of respondents also said they will use and trust whatever system their provider uses.

Read the full survey results: Accelerate Health 2020 Consumer Telehealth survey.

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