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Americans like telemedicine more after trying it: survey


Many also say technology makes them more likely to seek care

Man waving to image of doctor on laptop screen ©insta_photos-stock.adobe.com


The saying, “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it” seems to apply to telemedicine, a new survey finds.

In a poll of 1,007 Americans by insurance company Assurance, 27% of respondents said they had negative perception of telemedicine before trying it. But after trying it 90% said they would recommend it to someone who hasn’t previously tried it.

The poll also found relatively minor generational differences in individual perceptions of telemedicine prior to trying it. Thirty-one percent of baby boomers expressed doubts about its effectiveness, compared to 27% of Gen Zers and 25% of members of the millennial and Gen X age groups.

On the other hand, the survey showed that Gen Z and baby boomers are somewhat less likely to recommend telemedicine to someone who hasn’t tried it. Specifically, 14% of Gen Z and baby boomers expressed hesitancy about recommending it, compared with 6% of millennials and Gen Xers.

Of potential significance to health care generally was that 62% of respondents said availability of telemedicine makes them more likely to seek care they would otherwise put off. Along the same lines, 44% felt that telemedicine appointments are less effective than seeing a provider in person.

When it comes to the cost of telemedicine visits, 75% of those polled think they should be cheaper than in-person visits, and 30% say they save money by using virtual visits in place of in-person appointments.On average, Americans think telemedicine visits should cost about 25% less than an in-person visit.

According to the survey’s authors, the COVID-19 pandemic jump-started telemedicine’s popularity. “Individuals who started using telemedicine during the pandemic reported finding it more convenient than those who had used it before, highlighting the shifting perception of telemedicine as a viable and user-friendly option for medical care,” they write.

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