Convenience Is King

August 18, 2014 By InTouch Health

Telemedicine opponents often claim that patients aren’t comfortable interacting with a remote physician. But that’s utter hogwash if you look at the latest research and market trends.

Telehealth companies that offer remote consultations via smartphone apps are growing by leaps and bounds. Even big-name health systems are getting into the act. Last year, Cleveland Clinic performed nearly one million remote consultations by smartphone and e-mail. That was done primarily to meet the needs of millennials who would rather get a same-day smartphone consultation than wait weeks to see a doctor. But a growing number of Boomers are also quite comfortable getting a tele-consult rather than enduring the long wait and high cost of the ER. It’s also handy when people are traveling and don’t want to see an unfamiliar physician at an urgent care clinic.

Several recent studies show just how quickly remote consultations are gaining acceptance. A new study from MDLIVE found that a whopping 82 percent of adults, age 18 to 34, feel that a smartphone consultation is the best option, not just an emergency choice.

That’s confirmed by Intel’s recent Healthcare Innovation Barometer, which found that 72 percent of those surveyed were happy to see a doctor via video-conference or mobile device for non-urgent cases. Worldwide, 84% of respondents said they would gladly share personal health data remotely if it could help lower healthcare costs.

And here’s a sure sign that people trust Big Data: more than 70 percent of those surveyed globally are willing to use toilet sensors, prescription bottle sensors, and even swallowed monitors to make remote diagnoses faster and easier.

These findings are the perfect rebuttal to stodgy organizations that gather anecdotal evidence and make the phony claim that people aren’t ready for telemedicine.