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Survey: Providers' adoption of telehealth isn't followed by patients' uptake

Most patients, about eight out of 10 consumers, are still largely unaware of how to access telehealth or whether their insurer will cover it.

Survey: Providers' adoption of telehealth isn't followed by patients' uptake

Hospitals and healthcare-delivery systems are embracing telehealth, having made substantial investments in infrastructure, training, and process re-engineering. Yet most patients, about eight out of 10 consumers, are still largely unaware of how to access telehealth or whether their insurer will cover it.

According to the recently released results from an Avizia-sponsored study, 18 percent of consumers surveyed said they had used telehealth, while 82 percent had not. When asked to rate their experience with telehealth on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 signifying a "great experience," 62 percent of consumers who used telehealth ranked their experience a 10, 9, or 8.

Consumers who used telehealth appreciated time savings and convenience (59 percent), faster service and shorter wait times to see the doctor (55 percent), and cost savings due to less travel (43 percent).

On the other hand, providers are most interested in telehealth's ability to expand access or reach to patients (72 percent), but flagged reimbursement as a barrier to implementation (41 percent), followed by program cost (40 percent), and clinician resistance (22 percent).

As the data indicates, there is strong momentum for telehealth, but patients need a little more guidance and education to increase adoption more broadly.

"Health systems are investing in telehealth, even as uptick is slow among consumers, because they understand the potential of the technology to impact patient care in a profound way," Mike Baird, CEO of Avizia, said in a statement. "As technology advances and health system priorities shift, we expect to see a greater number of hospitals seeking new ways to leverage telehealth on a system-wide level to support the shift to value-based care."

You can get full results of the survey and download the 2017 Closing the Telehealth Gap white paper from here, and also learn what the findings mean for the future of care delivery.

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