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.
As the loosening of state-level coronavirus restrictions has more Americans venturing out of their homes, it’s fair to wonder whether the recent boom in telemedicine adoption could falter.
The latest data from CivicScience’s ongoing tracking of remote healthcare services show a mixed picture. While the percentage of those who’ve adopted telemedicine continues to rise, the proportion of U.S. adults who say they’re either uninterested in or unaware of the trend has calcified at just under half of the population.
For the second straight month, 47% of U.S. adults say they’re either uninterested (32%) or unaware of (15%) telemedicine (grouped as “Does not plan to use / Unaware” in the graph above). The increases in adoption of telemedicine appear to be coming solely from those who’ve been intending to try it. While this may sound like a no-brainer, this was not the case in the early stages of the pandemic; the ‘disinterest / unawareness’ figure fell from 71% to 49% from February to April.
Older adults (those 55 and up) have begun making up a larger and larger portion of those who’ve adopted telemedicine. In March, the 55-plus age cohort accounted for 27% of telemedicine adopters; in June, that figure rose to 36%. Or, to look at it another way: In March, those under the age of 35 made up more than one-third of total adopters. Now, they account for just one-quarter.
Political conservatives (40%) are much more likely than liberals (27%) to say they’re not interested in telemedicine. And it appears that the issue may be becoming increasingly politicized: among telemedicine adopters, conservatives’ satisfaction with telemedicine services has fallen from March (71%) to June (59%) this year, while liberals’ satisfaction with telemedicine has held firm. Over three months, political affiliation has gone from being a non-factor in one’s experience with telemedicine to being a valid indicator.
CivicScience will continue to monitor the telemedicine trend as it evolves amid the coronavirus pandemic. Check back in July for a more in-depth look at how telemedicine patients feel that the experience compares with that of traditional healthcare.