J.D. Power based in Costa Mesa, CA has released a first of its kind consumer/patient satisfaction survey measuring perception on several areas of telehealth as of July 2019. Find the report here on their website

The full title of the report is “As Telehealth Technology and Methodologies Mature, Consumer Adoption is further behind similar studies on overall provider adoption, However, the similarities for patient adoption and provider adoption pretty much end there.

For the provider the biggest obstacle, many of them face in telemedicine adoption first and foremost the fact it the sizable disruption to their current clinical and practice flows, many of which for being in place unchanged for the past 10 years. To add insult to injury, the staff that put them in place in 2010 are probably the same ones that are still working there today. Changing this type of entrenched processes for any company is sizable. And it reasonable to expect that this issue is only recently cropping up every few weeks when a patient inquires if they offer telehealth

The Telehealth or Telemedicine consumer/patient challenges are really broken into three categories

  • Lack of awareness telemedicine is a benefit – Only 17% of consumers are aware of their health system or insurance provider offers telemedicine services as an alternative to an office visit
  • Perception of lower quality of care – Over 48% believe quality of care of a virtual visit is below that of an office visit
  • However, given the above, the report also revealed that 10% of them have in fact used Telehealth in the past year. The reason they used it, to avoid going to the Emergency Room and/or Urgent Care (and I would suspect the Pharmacy retails clinics such as Rite Minute-Clinics fall into this category as well)
Rise of Telehealth for urgent issues

It is very possible that these approximately 10% patient reporting use of Telehealth was injunction with them making the conscious decision to pay out of pocket for the visit.

The low number reporting knowing it is a covered benefit, coupled with the high deductible and/or co-pay levels in the current benefits structure and so prevalent today levels are likely primary drivers of this occurrence (however this is a just a suspicion and not in the J.D. Power report)

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