- Although few Americans use telehealth, those who do so are quite pleased with the service, a survey by J.D. Power announced Monday at the HLTH conference concludes.
- The rates of satisfaction average 851 on a 1,000-point scale. And 46% of the respondents gave telehealth a score above 900.
- The rates of approval are rivaled only by those who engage in online and smartphone banking.
Telemedicine could remake how healthcare is delivered in the United States, but it's still having a difficult time catching on. Many consumers remain unaware of such services, and it is possible they'd be dismissed by older, less tech-savvy patients.
The survey of nearly 8,300 consumers, however, found that not only were those who have used telehealth happy with the service they received, it also usually addressed their clinical issues. Nearly 85% of telehealth users were able to completely resolve their medical issues as a result of their remote teleconsultation and 73% said they experienced no issues at all during their visit.
Consultations were also relatively swift. It took an average of 17 minutes to complete enrollment into a telehealth program; nine minutes to wait for a provider (physician or nurse practitioner); and 18 minutes for the actual consultation to be completed.
But lack of knowledge about telehealth remains a hindrance to its adoption. Among consumers who have not used telehealth, 29% told J.D. Power the service isn't available to them and 37% say they do not know whether it's even offered by their provider.
However, word-of-mouth could change that. According to the survey, 65% of those who used telehealth services did so because they received a positive recommendation from others, including friends, family members, their employer or doctor.
"We are looking at telehealth services similar to mobile banking and its early adoption rates," said Greg Truex, J.D. Power's managing director of health intelligence, in a statement. "Early attempts at trying to convince consumers to bank via their phone failed, and initiatives were abruptly canceled." But then it caught on.
Among consumer telehealth companies, Teladoc had the highest rating with 870 points, closely followed by Doctor on Demand with a score of 867. With a score of 847, MDLive was below the average score of 853. MeMD and American Well were also below average with respective scores of 843 and 820.
Among insurers, Humana was the highest-ranked, followed by Kaiser Permanente and Cigna. Anthem and Aetna had scores below the 851 average, but still scored 850 and 840, respectively.