Telehealth usage skyrocketed in the early stages of COVID-19, thereby accounting for a prominent share of all doctor’s appointments at their peak. And while virtual visits have since dipped in terms of volume, telehealth still goes on to aid millions of appointments every year. However, the question remains: is this trend going to stay the way it is?
The Phreesia survey that has been completed by almost 2000 patients suggests that it is going to be that way. Last year, 36% of patients who checked in for their doctor’s appointment on the Phreesia platform reported having had a virtual healthcare visit in the last six months. Apparently, the satisfaction happened to be high, with 71% of the recent telehealth users stating that they were either very or, in fact, extremely satisfied with a care option as robust as virtual visits.
Significantly, more than 7 out of 10 patients said that they were comfortable when it came to discussing prescriptions (72% of them) and health issues (75% of them) during their virtual visits. Besides, 59% rated their doctors as very good or even excellent when it came to addressing their concerns. Apart from this, 84% of those who sought recent telehealth said that they either remained somewhat or extremely likely to use virtual healthcare over the next 12 months due to the fact that it saved them time and gave them flexibility.
As per Mark McConaghy and Chris Millsom from Klick Health, telehealth happens to come with other advantages as well. The affordability, access-ease and capability to make sure that the patients feel comfortable when it comes to discussing sensitive topics are all reasons, they anticipate it gaining significance and popularity in the years to come.
As per McConaghy, telehealth goes on to help patients so that they can have challenging conversations in a setting where they feel safe.
He adds that in a telehealth conversation, one happens to be face-to-face in a place that is familiar and comfortable. It is not a scenario where one gets to feel subservient to the doctor; in fact, one gets to feel like equals when addressing health issues. One is absolutely going to witness telehealth continue to be a prime driver when it comes to healthcare for many people.
With telehealth becoming an integral part of the care mix, organisations that happen to focus only on their in-office materials and messaging would not reach some patients. They will in fact need to get hold of digital engagement solutions that can reach the exact patients, no matter where they happen to be.
There are also some extremely exciting spaces that brands can surely take advantage of as these offerings evolve, such as leveraging electronic health records so as to offer personalised resources during and after appointments related to telehealth.
The survey also goes on to share insights on what materials patients look for. Upon being asked what resources they would be inclined to receive when it comes to telehealth appointments, the patients listed information on medication, doctor discussion guides, and patient support programmes.
The way Millsom sees it, the supply of these resources at the point of care can help quicken the time to prescribe and also enhance adherence to medication. He adds that telehealth providers are indeed looking at this kind of opportunity as a way to deliver better outcomes.