Many patients interested in virtual visits

Telehealth is the future in accessing care, yet many physicians are hesitant to implement the technology. A survey conducted by Advisory Board found over 70 percent of respondents were interested in virtual doctor’s office visits. Researchers hope this survey, titled the “Virtual Visits Consumer Choice Survey,” will urge healthcare providers to embrace telehealth and incorporate it into their practices.

While telehealth has proved it is able to offer improve access to healthcare provider with greater efficiency and flexibility with outcomes comparable to in-office visits, telehealth is uncommon. This survey hopes to improve implementation of telehealth by outlining patient interests.

"Across industries, consumers have become accustomed to using virtual technology for both real-time and asynchronous interactions. Health care providers can no longer wait to catch up," said Tom Cassels, National Strategy Partner at Advisory Board. "Providers have designed care access around their own convenience and will increasingly find patients willing to pay for their own convenience and alternatives to driving to physician offices for medical expertise."

Around 5,000 survey recipients responded. Key findings include:

  • 77 percent of consumers would consider seeing a provider though telehealth, with 19 percent already having done so.
  • 70 percent of respondents were interested in using telehealth to refill a prescription, attend pre-and post-operation appointments, receive oncology results and chronic condition management.  
  • Pregnancy checkups, weight loss coaching, smoking cessation coaching, dermatology consults and psychologist consults were the top categories patients were interested in.
  • 21 percent of respondents reported care quality as the top concern with using virtual visits with 19 percent stating the provider not being able to diagnose them virtually as a concern.
  • 9 percent had no concern on using virtual visits.

“Direct-to-consumer virtual specialty and chronic care are largely untapped frontiers," said Emily Zuehlke, Consultant, Research at Advisory Board. "As consumers increasingly shop for convenient, affordable health care—and as payers' interest in low-cost access continues to grow—this survey suggests that consumers are likely to reward those who offer virtual visits for specialty and chronic care."