- Satisfaction with telehealth is significantly higher among younger patients, according to a study by consumer data company JD Power.
- Members of Generation Y, who were born between 1977 and 1994, and Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2004, report a satisfaction score of 714 out of 1,000. But Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and and 1964, and people born earlier had a significantly lower score of 671.
- The satisfaction gap between older and younger generations is widest when it comes to digital channels and appointment scheduling, which could mean older users are struggling to use telehealth providers’ digital interfaces, the study argues.
Telehealth use soared during the COVID-19 pandemic as patients avoided healthcare facilities to avoid infection, spurred on by new regulatory flexibilities.
Though utilization has dropped from its pandemic highs, telehealth is here to stay, particularly for routine and mental healthcare, according to Christopher Lis, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power.
Other research has found that telehealth visits are more frequently billed at lower level of service (LOS) codes than in-person visits, suggesting less complex care.
Mental health visits make up a large portion of overall telehealth claim lines too, and access to virtual visits may have boosted the number of people who could receive care for common mental health disorders.
“At the same time, we are seeing some significant barriers to adoption in some populations, particularly among older patients and underserved populations who are struggling with digital channels and having challenges with access and ease of use,” Lis said in a statement.
The JD Power report, which surveyed more than 5,400 consumers who used a telehealth service at least once in the past year, found ease of use is key when it comes to satisfaction with telehealth care.
Overall satisfaction was 172 points higher when patients rated digital channels as “very easy” to use compared with “not very easy” to use.
Patients are looking for quick and accessible options when they choose telehealth as well, according to the study, with 28% of respondents reporting convenience as a primary reason for picking virtual over in-person care and 17% citing the ability to get care fast.
Overall satisfaction with the telehealth experience is highest when it comes to the people involved in providing the care, like doctors, physician’s assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners, and whether the visit met the patient’s needs.