Telemedicine is slowly seeping more firmly into the routine health care delivery mix. A survey from vendor American Well explores Americans’ attitudes regarding telehealth. (American Well Survey) The survey was conducted by Harris with over 2000 consumers. According to the survey 64% would have a remote video visit with a physician, primarily because of convenience. Major concerns included certainty that a real doctor was on the other end and how the doctor would be able to conduct a physical exam. If a person felt they needed medical care in the middle of the night, 44% should they would go to an ER, but 21% said a video visit would be acceptable. A significant 60% said they would use video visits for prescription refills. Patients believe that high-definition video, presumably via a computer, would be better than phone or email for a remote diagnosis. Not surprisingly, 88% said they would like to be able to select their doctor, not just have one assigned from a queue. 62% think video visits should be cheaper, and they generally are. 76% of respondents said they had had a regular physician for two years or more. 7% said they would switch doctors to have the option of video visits, with even more young patients willing to make the switch. Health plans and providers expressed strong interest in telehealth in separate surveys. So far, research suggests that for many purposes telemedicine can deliver as good quality as in-person care and it should cost less and allow rational use of capacity, especially of higher-skilled providers.
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The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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