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What do consumers think about telemedicine?

With the U.S. facing an ever-increasing shortage of physicians, one pressure (among many) on medical practices today is finding cost-effective ways to see more patients, especially within certain specialties, such as dermatology. According to a 2017 Merritt Hawkins survey, the average wait time to schedule a dermatologist appointment across 15 major markets is 32.2 days. In many markets, wait times can be several months or longer for new patients.

While many dermatology practices are considering adding teledermatology as one solution for improving patient access to care, the question often arises as to whether or not their patients would be open to conducting visits online. There is a lot of research out there right now indicating that consumers are more than ready and willing to give telemedicine a try. We sorted through some of the more recent studies to give you a snapshot of what consumers are saying and who specifically is saying it:

  • According to the Rock Health "2016 Digital Health National Consumer Survey" of 4,000-plus adults, "2016 was considered to be an impressive growth year for telemedicine" with more than a quarter of consumers across all age brackets saying they plan to use live video to receive medical care or electronically send a picture or video to their healthcare provider in the future. Usage of telemedicine is highest among the 25-34 age bracket followed by the 35-44 age bracket.
  • The 2016 Salesforce "Connected Patient Report" (conducted online by Harris Poll) found that "patients are supportive of telemedicine and home-health monitoring, and these services are factors in whether they would choose a caregiver." The same report shows that roughly 60 percent of Millennials showed interest in telemedicine.
  • According to the LiveHealth® Online 2016 "Moms and Health Technology Survey (conducted in conjunction with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut)," 64% of the moms surveyed like the idea of having access to healthcare on-demand, while 79% say they're interested in trying or learning about telemedicine for non-emergency situations." These findings are significant as women continue to serve as the primary healthcare decision makers and problems solvers in their families.
  • In an Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield survey of 2,000 adults living in upstate New York, one-third of respondents between the ages of 18 and 44 said they plan to use telemedicine services, citing convenience (48%) as the biggest reason for their interest.

And, the Salesfoce report referenced above delivered what was probably one of the most interesting findings of any of the recent studies– "The study found that patients want to interact with their physician in more modern and personal ways, and that providers who take advantage of these new trends set themselves up for success."

For additional information about research on consumers and telemedicine, contact us at