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February 10, 2017

78% wants to use virtual healthcare, only 21% does…

A new survey from Accenture shows that many Americans want to use digital health services, but only little actually do. The consulting firm asked 1501 consumers and 78% said to be interested in virtual care, but only 21% had used the digital care in the recent past.

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Virtual care includes telemedicine, biometric tracking, and the use of apps for reminders and health management, according to Accenture. 77% of the surveyed Americans indicated that they would like to use track health indicators such as blood pressure, pulse and glucose levels with technology, 76% wanted to use telemedicine for follow-up appointments, and 70% wanted to be remotely examined for non-urgent health concerns.

Consumers choose when and how

“Consumers are clear: In the 21st century, 20th century healthcare is not good enough,” says Frances Dare, managing director of Accenture’s virtual health services. “Technology-enabled services will be equally important as traditional in-person services, allowing the modern patient to choose when and how they receive health and care services.”

The survey also wanted to know why people turn to virtual care. 37% answered “for their convenience”, while 34% gave “curiosity” as a and 34% said it was because they were already familiar with the use of technology. 44% of the respondents explained that they would be more likely to try virtual care if their physician recommended it.

Offer meaningful choises

“Given evolving consumer attitudes toward virtual care, making virtual health a priority could be a boon for provider organizations that are resource- and finance-constrained,” Frances Dare added. “As more and more patients take control of their own healthcare in the age of consumerism, provider organizations must be able to offer meaningful choices for virtual care, in-person care and a combination of both.”

It’s not easy comparing different surveys about this topic, because every survey uses different definitions of digital health, telehealth, or virtual care. But earlier studies such as a study of physicians last year, which found that 15 percent had used telehealth, or a 2015 Healthline survey that found just 9 percent of consumers had used telehealth, the 21% from the Accenture survey is high.

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