Telemedicine technology has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery, lowering costs and improving outcomes. It could eliminate long delays in physician waiting rooms, remove the need to spend time traveling to and from office visits, and could result in healthcare professionals having a lot more useful data readily at hand when it comes time to diagnose or monitor the progress of a patient. There’s just one hitch; maybe people don’t want it.
Parks Associates has published a new research report that indicates low interest in telehealth services. The company researched U.S. homes that have broadband service. (According to the FCC, 90% of the U.S. population has access to at least 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload broadband service.) Only 1 in 7 people surveyed described themselves as “very interested” in telehealth services. This includes three different forms of service:
- Doctor or nurse remotely collects vital signs
- App or service collects health data and notifies healthcare provider
- Personal health coach
Even people with chronic conditions did not express strong interest in these services. These results point to the need for a lot more education, both for patients and for healthcare professionals. People are not broadly aware of the benefits offered by this technology. Parks suggests that free trials with no long-term commitment required could help patients and doctors become more familiar with the process and the results. If they don’t understand the value, we won’t realize the cost-savings and other benefits.