Telemedicine may hold plenty of promise in bringing more accessible and specialized care to more people, but patients are still skeptical about it, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by consultancy TechnologyAdvice, revealed nearly 65 percent of respondents nationwide said they would be somewhat or very unlikely to choose a virtual appointment, while only 35.4 percent stated the opposite. Approximately 75 percent of people reported they either would not trust a diagnosis made via telemedicine, or would trust this method less than an in-doctor visit.
However, in the event a relationship between a physician and patient had already been established, the majority of patients would be comfortable with a telemedicine diagnosis: 65 percent of respondents said they would be somewhat or much more likely to use a virtual appointment system if they had first seen the doctor in-person, and a combined 70 percent of respondents reported at least one of the following factors would make them more likely to use a virtual appointment: more convenient scheduling options, lower cost, less time spent in the waiting room, and ability to conduct virtual appointments at home.
The survey, based on responses from 504 adults aged 18 and over, also revealed a generational component to discomfort with telemedicine. Only about 17 percent of 18-24 year old respondents, and 24 percent of 25-44 year olds, said they wouldnt trust a virtual diagnosis.
Survey author Cameron Graham, managing editor at TechnologyAdvice, said the results suggested much of the hesitation about telemedicine may stem from patient fears over lack of physician choice, or lack of familiarity with the doctor they see.
This can likely be eased through a combination of education materials, and clear explanations about how much physician choice is offered, Graham said.
The full report is available here (registration required).
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