Just prior to COVID-19, an estimated 50 major U.S. healthcare systems had some type of telemedicine platform in place. Fast-forward to the height of the pandemic: Growth in telemedicine has soared, accounting for better than 40% of all primary care patient visits.
While telemedicine visits have dropped a bit as the country begins the reopening process, the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation found that 7 in 10 consumers polled said they are interested in using telehealth for follow-ups with their doctor and will continue to use these types of visits for future medical appointments.
Not Everyone Is Completely Sold
According to the University’s poll, 27% of older adults who have never had a telemedicine visit said that the main reasons for not trying the technology relate to privacy concerns. Of those who did try a telemedicine visit, 4 in 5 were concerned that their doctor couldn’t physically examine them, and 64% worried that they weren’t getting quality care.
Then there are individuals who said they will continue to use both telemedicine and in-person office visits. For example, those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes must have in-person physical exams and periodic blood tests; however, they plan to use telemedicine for follow-up visits.
Into the Future
This year, telemedicine experienced unprecedented growth amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, as hospitals and health systems begin to resume elective care, organizations need to think about what telehealth programs will look like moving forward.
According to findings from the Value-Based Care Summit that were reported to mHealthIntelligent.com, 96% of attendees said they believe telemedicine will continue to grow, with just 4% of respondents thinking it will likely stay at current levels. Of the attendees surveyed, 68% said they planned to further invest in telehealth following the COVID-19 pandemic; in addition, 44% said they plan to invest in IT infrastructure and capabilities to specifically support telehealth solutions.
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