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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : January 22, 2015

Telehealth: Convenience driving interest in visiting a doctor via video

The convenience of a virtual visit with a doctor, via video, could lead to many switching their medical care to those that are willing to embrace new technology, according to new research from telehealth firm American Well.

by Helen Leggatt

A survey for American Well, conducted online by Harris Poll among 2,019 U.S adults aged 18 and over, found that nearly two-thirds (64%) are willing to conduct a video visit with a doctor. The top reason for choosing this channel is convenience, according to 61% of respondents.

"2014 has been a record-breaking year for the telehealth industry and for American Well," said Roy Schoenberg, MD, CEO of American Well. "We have seen Americans embrace the ease and simplicity of getting immediate quality healthcare, on their terms, right from their phones and computers.

Seventy percent of respondents said they would prefer to receive a prescription via online video versus an in-person visit and 60% would feel comfortable getting an Rx refill via video.

Would people be prepared to switch doctors to get one that did video visits? According to the survey, some would, with younger patients more likely to do so. Seven percent of those who had been with their doctor for less than one year said they would switch doctors to get video visits as did 10% of respondents who had been with their doctor for two to four years. Among those aged 18 to 34, 11% said they would switch compared to 8% of those aged 35 to 44.

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"Consumers still consider the ER as their first choice for late night urgent care; however, video visits have now become the second choice overall for consumers if their child or a loved one was sick with a high fever, ranking higher than 24-hour nurse lines,"{ says American Well. "Moreover, 21% of people said they would do a video visit first. That number rises to 30% in parents of children under 18."

Through American Well, patients have access to information to help them select a doctor, including looking at details of their medical licenses and where they attended medical school.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: health, mobile, video

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