Telemedicine and many emerging “virtual” healthcare services may be just what the doctor ordered for this major ailment: The Association of American Medical Colleges says that the U.S. faces a shortage of more than 130,600 physicians across primary care and all specialties by 2025.

In recent project work with Iagnosis, a Pittsburgh-based start-up that offers the online service DermatologistOnCall®, we became interested in better understanding consumers on the adoption curve spectrum when it comes to virtual healthcare.

We posed the following question to nearly 11,000 U.S. adults:

“What do you think about paying out-of-pocket for “virtual” online doctor appointments that allow you to be seen and diagnosed faster for certain health conditions?”

We then divided respondents into 3 categories:

  • Early adopters (those who have already tried such a service)
  • Persuadables (those who haven’t tried it yet but want to, as well as those who don’t yet have an opinion)
  • Detractors (those who state they have no interest)

Overall, early adopters are more likely to be in the 18-44 age range; be male (although the gender flipped for Iagnosis – women probably pay more attention to their skin); make more than $150,000 per year in household income; are parents; have busy schedules; and haven’t seen a doctor in person in the past year.

The persuadables — think of them as the next wave of consumers, i.e. taking it “mainstream” — look different in a few ways: they are more likely to be middle aged (35-54); use smart-phones; have had a few doctor visits in the past year; and are still most influenced by TV ads. Parental status was less of a factor.

Detractors tend to be older in age, female, and have in-office doctor’s appointments at a much higher rate.

Learn more about our research findings in the full online report.