Telemedicine still popular with patients, but there are concerns

Patients prefer virtual appointments for common ailments, but question the quality of care

Telemedicine is popular with patients, but many are concerned about the quality of care received, according to Software Advice’s 2022 State of Telemedicine Survey. The majority of patients prefer virtual appointments for common illnesses, but more than half have concerns about the quality of care they are receiving.

Telemedicine came into its own during the pandemic, where 70% of patients started using it, and continues to be popular, with 86% of patients rating their telemedicine experience as positive with 91% more likely to choose a provider that offers telemedicine over one that does not.

The convenience – and to some extent the safety – is appealing to most patients. When experiencing COVID symptoms, 62% prefer a telemedicine appointment – the same percentage prefers a remote appointment when possible, for ailments like headaches (62%)and fevers (57%). But they prefer in-person visits for physical injuries (89%), skin disorders (70%) and upper respiratory issues (70%).

The study found that 83% of patients have insurance that will pay for telehealth services, but one-third worry that an in-person exam, lab work, or other testing is critical to correctly diagnosing their malady.

While industry experts have pointed out that telehealth is perfect for mental health appointments, only 49% prefer it for mental health treatment.

The top reasons for using telemedicine are:

  • Convenience 36%
  • Seeing a provider faster 24%
  • Provider recommended 15%
  • Didn’t want to drive to appointment 14%
  • COVID issues 5%

To access telemedicine, patients primarily use personal computers (70%), smartphones (62%), and tablets (13%) for their virtual appointments.

According to the report, the ideal telemedicine user is someone with mild/common symptoms, insurance coverage, and access to video-capable technology.