Is Telehealth here to stay?

Is Telehealth here to stay?

10.06.2020 CJU_admin Latest News

In a recent marketing minute, we published a piece on telehealth drawing from data published through a HotDoc survey. The survey was conducted on April 21st 2020 and although a small sample (347 Australians) the results identified that for a number of mixed/private practices telehealth has been quickly adopted and positively embraced by many patients.

This is further supported by a McKinsey and Company article posted on May 21st entitled “As physical doors close, new digital doors swing open” citing:

“Satisfaction levels with digital usage and “intent to continue to use” are also quite high………..There is a similar outcome with the uptake in telemedicine, which has been tried by 10 percent of consumers, many for the first time: 60 percent of those users are “very satisfied.” High satisfaction levels for activities whose online efficacy has historically received a fair amount of scepticism are a good sign of post lockdown “stickiness.”

Here is some further detailed data about the private patient’s preference:

  • Patients at mixed/private GP clinics are more likely to have had a telehealth appointment compared to patients who attend bulk billing clinics (29% compared to 21%).
  • 55% of patients who attend mixed/private GP clinics are happy to pay for telehealth over the phone and 57% for video telehealth appointments.
  • 48% of patients who attend mixed/private GP clinics would prefer telehealth to in-person appointments if COVID-19 restrictions WERE NOT in place (compared to 29% of patients who attend bulk billing clinics).

The survey continues in its analysis to advise that patients who had a telehealth appointment are more likely to agree that their last in-person appointment could have been done effectively online (68%).

 

The data from the HotDoc survey together with medical practitioner feedback has given good insight into suitable areas of practice that patients and practitioners believe can best be delivered through telehealth.

 

The main preferences for telehealth to in-person appointments listed by patients?

  • More than half of patients (60%) prefer telehealth for receiving results
  • 52% would use telehealth when receiving a script or a specialist referral
  • 51% would use telehealth for follow up appointments

What were the concerns listed by patients?

There were some common concerns listed including:

  • Internet issues
  • Need to physical examination (i.e. blood pressure)
  • Logistics around scripts and pharmacies
  • Communication challenges
  • Privacy issues
  • Fair pricing

What about medical specialists?

Specialists who have recently provided telehealth services for the first time advised that initial consultations involving diagnosis through telehealth can be difficult, but review appointments can in many instances be very suited to a telehealth solution. 

The take home message

There is a desire by patients in the mixed/private setting to continue with telehealth. GP and Specialist clinics should view telehealth as a continuing service aspect and put into place structures that allow it to be a practice profit centre.

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