A recent survey reveals that 71% of Americans are afraid to visit the doctor due to COVID-19, while the use of telemedicine to address medical issues has exploded – with 67% of those surveyed reporting having used virtual appointments since the pandemic began vs. 46% prior.
Out of 2,000 Americans surveyed by Harmony Healthcare IT, the average respondent had conducted 2.9 telehealth visits. While 63% of people were apprehensive about their first telehealth appointment, 72% reported ultimately enjoying the experience due to its convenience, safety, flexibility, less wait time and the comfort of being in one’s own home.
What’s more, wait times have decreased for 52% of respondents, while 28% say it’s about the same, and 20% saying their virtual doctor’s appointments have taken longer than in-person. That said, 34% reported delays due to technical difficulties, while 28% missed or rescheduled appointments due to technology issues.
Most visits, or 59%, were for primary care appointments, while 11% were for cardiologists, and the same percentage for neurologists. 42% sought mental health counseling through telehealth, while 70% reported being more willing to speak with a mental health professional if they could do so virtually.
Overall, while 80% of those surveyed said they believe telehealth has improved their access to care, 55% said they still prefer an in-person visit.
As far as platforms for virtual sessions go, Zoom came in first at 27%, followed by a medical provider’s app or website at 25%, with Skype coming in third at 19%.
By age group, 59% of millennials said they’re comfortable with virtual visits, while 46% of boomers said the same.
Post-pandemic, 60% of respondents said they would continue to use telehealth, while just 12% said they would not.