Editor’s Note: This article was one in an ongoing series of CivicScience studies on telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest research into telemedicine use, click here.
With the COVID-19 / coronavirus pandemic putting a strain on the U.S. healthcare system and discouraging people from going out in public altogether, Americans are turning to telemedicine to stay healthy.
CivicScience is constantly tracking the adoption of – and intent to adopt – telemedicine across the country. The latest survey data show a rise in telemedicine adoption and a spike in intent as U.S. adults (ages 18+) contend with COVID-19 concerns:
After holding steady under 20% for three months prior to the novel coronavirus’ arrival in the U.S., intent to use telemedicine shot up to 30% of U.S. adults in March – a 67% rise over February’s level. Telemedicine adoption rose from 11% in February to 17% in March – a 55% increase.
Those who’ve tried telemedicine were more likely than others to be “very concerned” about getting access to COVID-19 testing / screening, suggesting that the coronavirus pandemic is behind this recent surge.Adoption and intent to use telemedicine grew substantially among all age groups, but older age cohorts saw the largest increases. In the month of March, Gen Xers became 50% more likely to adopt and 39% more likely to intend to use telemedicine than they had been over the prior three months. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers became 55% more likely to adopt the practice, but only 12% more likely to intend to use telemedicine. Millennials and Gen Z each saw more modest increases in adoption, but appreciable boosts in intent.Adoption and intent increased across all income brackets as well. However, adoption increased the most among those earning $50K to $100K per year, while intent to adopt saw the biggest boost among the group earning less than $50K per year. However, the general curve of adoption and intent increasing alongside household income remained intact. And while telemedicine use has been increasing among American adults of all education levels over the past month, the pace of growth among those with high school diplomas or less has not kept up with the pace of growth among those who’ve attended college or attained degrees. While telemedicine usage and intent rates have increased across the board during the COVID-19 outbreak in March, it appears that wealthier, more educated Americans are jumping on board at higher rates than lower-income, less educated adults.
CivicScience will continue to track this growing trend through the duration of the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.