We’ve been tracking telemedicine technology, applications, and acceptance. Just a few years ago, more patients than physicians were open to telemedicine, according to a 2015 Nielsen Strategic Health Perspectives study. When the American Medical Association provided guidance for telemedicine in 2016, the concept gained credibility. The medical community became increasingly interested in telemedicine as a way to improve overall healthcare and for its potential to reduce paperwork.
A new patient survey by Software Advice indicates most patients have positive impressions of telemedicine even if they’ve never had personal experience with video consultations or other teleservices. Among the patients surveyed who had telemedicine conferencing, 51% appreciated the convenience and comfort of contact with healthcare professionals from their homes. Just over half isn’t a solid win, but it’s a good start in these early days. Than three out of four patients said that they’d be more likely to choose providers who offered telemedicine over those who did not. Telemedicine’s greatest drawbacks, according to those who had experienced it, were the lack of a physical exam and no face-to-face interaction.
The pace of change doesn’t always proceed this quickly, but with health care costs and convenience factored in, telemedicine appears to be on a fast track. Perhaps more patients are getting comfortable with video interactions through services such as Skype and FaceTime. Whatever the cause, more people want to be able to reach their healthcare providers electronically as a more efficient alternative to the traditional office visit.