Cisco survey on telehealth shows warming trend

The much-touted Cisco Customer Experience Report demonstrates, like spring in March, a definite warming trend towards consumer comfort with telehealth and online/mobile aspects of managing health using these tools by both consumers and clinical staff. In the global survey conducted in early 2013 among 1,547 consumers and 403 health care decision makers in ten countries, 70 percent of customers surveyed were comfortable communicating with their doctors via text, email or video rather than seeing them in person. Comfort, though, is not actuality. Consumer preferences of text, video consults, IMs, email and even that old standby the telephone, versus in-person visits, are still low, in the 19-23 percent range. Online usage questions hover in the 20-40 percent range–a low (to your Editor) 30 percent are using the internet to check for information. What is also interesting is a seeming contradiction: 63 percent of customers are comfortable storing medical records in the cloud, but 39 percent don’t trust internet sites for privacy and security of that same data. Perhaps it’s confusion about what the cloud is? (Cisco Infographic)

Editor’s Note: An interesting and misinterpreted stat is 76 percent ‘find access to care more important than physical human contact with their care providers’ (Cisco slide). At least one blog (HIT Consultant) in an otherwise useful article has trumpeted this as ‘76% of Patients Would Choose Telehealth Over Human Contact’. A look at the question indicates that in market research terms, this is worded as a ‘forced choice’ question–they’d rather have telehealth than no health (care). But overall, the survey indicates that however slowly, consumers and providers are building a level of comfort and acceptability on technology usage and data transfer as part of healthcare. Cisco report/release.

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