Though telehealth isn’t widely utilized by consumers, those who do use it like the service. Telehealth provider Avizia has been looking into the issue after the publication of a 2017 report called “Closing the Telehealth Gap,” developed with insight from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
In their own research, Avizia found that 55 percent of persons who chose to use telehealth services reported faster care, 43 percent said it reduced out of pocket costs, and 25 percent said they gained better access to care specialists. These are positive numbers, but they represent a small subset of the customer population.
The reasons for the underutilization are varied. Some reported they simply hadn’t had the opportunity to use telehealth services, while others were concerned with potential out-of-pocket costs or expressed preference toward in-person encounters.
It seems to be that medical professionals rather than consumers are leading the charge toward telehealth. In particular, telepsychiatry has seen enormous success at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, helping patients receive a psychiatry consult within one hour of hospital arrival. In his Feb. 8th report, Dr. Fleischut also pointed to success with the hospital’s mobile stroke unit, connecting first responders with neurologists by equipping ambulances with CT machines and video conferencing.
In a webinar sponsored by Avizia, the company’s vice president of business development Shawn Farrell advocated for moving away from a siloed approach, using telehealth to coordinate care across medical specialties. This, in tandem with raising patient awareness around telehealth, could be the key to telehealth success.
For an in-depth review of the report and webinar read more here.