Although telemedicine made its debut before the start of the pandemic, in the last year, the concept has gone fully mainstream. From small family practices to major healthcare companies, there’s more opportunity than ever before to see your doctor without ever leaving your house.
As previously reported, after the initial boom of telemedicine services early on in the pandemic, positive consumer experiences with telemedicine have plateaued and intentions to try have decreased.
Given the plateau in telemedicine usage and satisfaction, CivicScience took a closer look at Americans’ intent to continue using these services after the pandemic subsides. While 25% of U.S. adults say they aren’t sure if or to what extent they will use telemedicine after the pandemic is under control, 44% say they will continue to use the services where it makes sense.
Less than one-quarter (19%) of the U.S. population 18 and older say they will stop using telemedicine services altogether, but the unanimous preference for in-person visits for general ailments is telling.
It’s obvious that the majority of medical care can’t be administered remotely (at least not yet). Conversation, counsel, and diagnoses can, but even those are limited. Americans are primarily concerned with how well their health or conditions can be assessed from afar. It doesn’t matter how well an office or clinic incorporates the telemedicine tools available — the biggest concern for patients is simply how certain conditions could possibly be diagnosed and cared for without visiting a doctor in person.
Regardless of how many people continue or stop using telehealth in a non-pandemic world, 87% believe that it’s at least somewhat important for healthcare professionals to be given specific training on how to work with patients remotely.
While telemedicine is thriving for the moment, the overall trajectory tells of an evolving story. A fraction of usage seems to be driven by necessity. However, for some, a virtual appointment is convenient enough to keep at it even after the pandemic. So while telemedicine may not go away any time soon, as more Americans become vaccinated and states decrease restrictions, sentiment may be shifting in favor of a return to in-person medical visits.