Survey: 80% of Americans believe telehealth can provide quality medical care–up 23 points from 2020

Directional data that confirms the acceptance of telehealth gained five years of progress in one–and that could justify continued massive investment in telehealth. One year after COVID-19 introduced Americans to telehealth as the sole alternative to the in-person medical visit, perceptions have changed positively among users and non-users. Customer engagement/business process services company Sykes Enterprises surveyed 2,000 US adults (18+) in March and found the majority of their respondents not only now believed that they could receive quality care via telehealth, but also that it provided needed care and is preferred for parts of their annual exam, in addition to other specific acceptance points.

Highlights of the survey:

  • In 2020, 56% of all respondents were doubtful of the quality of care received in a telehealth appointment. Now 80% believe in quality care through telehealth.
  • 77% of respondents were now willing to try telehealth in the future, compared to 60% last year.
  • 63% of those who reported being afraid of going to the doctor said their fears were eased during their experience with telehealth
  • 74% believe telehealth/telemedicine appointments will become the norm for non-urgent medical consultations 
  • The perception of empathy via telehealth was also interestingly positive. 31% of respondents who tried telehealth during the pandemic feel their physician was more empathetic via telehealth compared to an in-person clinic appointment.
  • 86% of respondents who tried telehealth during the pandemic believe telehealth makes it easier to get the medical care they need.
  • Access made for more frequent visits for some. 52% of respondents who tried telehealth during the pandemic report seeing their physician more often now that they have the option for telehealth appointments.
  • For some, it’s more cost effective. 31% of respondents who tried telehealth during the pandemic say telehealth has decreased their healthcare expenses.
  • 64% of all respondents would prefer parts of their annual exam to be completed via telehealth.
  • Recognition that personal data can be useful.  74% of all respondents would be open to sharing their digital fitness tracker or smart medical device health data with their physician during a telehealth appointment.
  • But…19% of all respondents worry about the privacy of their personal health information with telehealth.

More information is in the Sykes article/infographic on the survey. Sykes release (PDF).

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