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Consumers Increasingly Willing to Try Telehealth, New Survey Finds

January 23, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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About one in five consumers said they would switch their current primary care provider (PCP) if another PCP in their area offered telehealth visits, according to American Well’s latest survey.

The research from the Boston-based telehealth vendor included more than 4,000 U.S. adults as part of its “Telehealth Index: 2017 Consumer Survey.” American Well commissioned Harris Poll to conduct two surveys online in late 2016 to measure consumer perceptions and experiences with telehealth.

Among those respondents who have a PCP, 65 percent are interested in seeing their PCP over video. Parents with children under 18 are even more likely to say they’re interested, with 74 percent interested in seeing their PCP through telehealth. And, 20 percent of consumers are willing to switch to a PCP that does offer telemedicine visits.

In addition to consumer interest in PCPs that offer telehealth, other noteworthy findings from the survey include:

  • Today, 50 million U.S. consumers would switch providers to one that offers telehealth.
  • Willingness to switch to a doctor that offers telehealth is highest among parents of children under age 18 and 35- to 44-year-olds.
  • 60 percent of consumers who are willing to have an online telehealth visit would see a doctor online for help managing a chronic condition.
  • 67 percent of adults ages 45 to 64 who are willing to have an online telehealth visit would see a doctor online for help managing a chronic condition.
  • 79 percent of consumers currently caring for an ill or aging relative say a multi-way video telehealth service would be helpful.

“Consumers are clearly interested in more convenient access to healthcare---and increasingly, they are even willing to switch providers to get internet video service. Not only that, but consumers are willing to try telehealth for many needs---from chronic conditions to post-discharge follow up,” Mary Modahl, chief marketing officer, American Well, said in a statement. “Health systems and provider groups must take note; if you haven’t already, 2017 is the year to put a secure telehealth platform in place.”

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