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Surprising number of people are not aware of remote health care options

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Despite telehealth’s popularity during the pandemic, many still don’t about it and other home health innovations

Despite the explosion of telehealth and other remote options during the pandemic and afterward, a surprising number of people are not aware these options even exist, according to a survey from NTT Data Services.

Of those surveyed, 52% of respondents did not know that health care providers are testing or working toward providing in-home medical care as opposed to requiring an in-office or hospital visit. The option of in-home care is somewhat popular, with 35% saying they would prefer care in their home versus an office. When asked about the biggest barrier to receiving in-home medical attention, 36% said it was because they were completely unaware of the option, while 35% said it was due to a lack of access either by their medical provider or location.

Telehealth is a popular option for care, with 47% stating they would prefer a telehealth appointment if given the option, while 25% said they would prefer a doctor to visit their home, and 28% said they did not prefer a telehealth or in-home doctor visit.

Survey respondents also agreed or strongly agreed (67%) with the statement that they feel more comfortable in their home when they fell ill, compared to 43% who agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more comfortable in the hospital.

According to the report, it is more likely that more patients will gravitate toward telehealth visits for things like filling prescriptions, addressing cold and flu symptoms, annual check-ups that don’t require in-office testing, and other non-life-threatening needs.

“The pandemic was a catalyst to showcasing the current struggles of health care systems: the struggle to meet patient demand and the needed efforts to keep key staff,” said Lisa Esch, Chief of Strategy, Innovation and Provider Industry Solutions, NTT DATA Services, in a statement. “It also led to an increase in patients wanting more personalized ways to receive care, like telehealth. The transition to providing care outside of traditional medical offices and hospitals requires planning and secure, effective and seamless digital system architecture.”

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