The Alliance for Connected Care has compiled polls on patient and provider adoption, acceptance, and satisfaction with telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  The Alliance is also adding COVID-19 research and reports to this page.  Finally, also included below is a list of pre-COVID-19 research and reports on telehealth utilization/adoption, feasibility and cost-effectiveness, and impact on clinical outcomes.  The Alliance will continue to update the charts with telehealth polls and relevant research as they are published.

Click the links below to jump to a table.

COVID-19 Telehealth Polls

October 2020

A new survey released October 1 found that of 4,300 individuals overall customer satisfaction with telehealth is high, but barriers to access remain. According to the 2020 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power, Alliance Board Member Amwell ranked highest in telehealth satisfaction among direct-to-consumer brands.

August 2020

A poll from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation of more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80 finds an increase in telehealth visits from 4% as of May 2019 to 26% between March and June 2020. Other significant findings include:

  • They feel very or somewhat comfortable with video conferencing technologies: 64%, up from 53% in 2019
  • At least one of their health providers offer telehealth visits: 62%, up from 14%
  • They are interested in using telehealth to connect with a provider they had seen before: 72%, up from 58%
  • They are interested in using telehealth for a one-time follow-up appointment after a procedure or operation: 63%, up from 55%
  • They have concerns about privacy during a telehealth visit: 24%, down from 49%
  • They are concerned they would have difficulty seeing or hearing the provider during a video visit: 25%, down from 39%

A survey of more than 1,000 Medicare-eligible consumers aged 64 and older conducted from July 17 to July 20 finds seniors are embracing telehealth and digital technologies. Telemedicine usage jumped 340% among Medicare-eligible seniors since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly one-third of consumers age 64 and older say they monitor their health using a wearable. Prior to COVID-19 only 1 in 10 used telemedicine. During COVID-19, 44% have used telemedicine and 43% say they intend on using it after, according to the survey.

In a survey conducted by data and analytics company GlobalData, 79% of specialists indicated that their use of telemedicine technology had increased as a result of the pandemic. Of the 79% of respondents who reported an increase in use, almost 30% reported an increase of between 81–100%, while 13% indicated an increase of 61–80%.

In a new survey from Caring Advisor, older adults were more satisfied with the experience of virtual visits as compared with other age groups. Survey respondents also indicated they were most comfortable completing virtual appointments with their primary care physician (74.5%), psychiatrist (70.1%), allergist (62%), gastroenterologist (53.5%) and infectious disease specialist (53.1%).  Top concerns about virtual visits included receiving a misdiagnosis, having technology difficulties, not being able to run more tests, and medical records not being secure.

Per a Definitive Healthcare survey of more than 2,300 providers and healthcare IT leaders, 23% indicated telehealth will have the greatest impact on the healthcare landscape in the next year.

July 2020

Change Healthcare and Harris Poll conducted a survey of more 2,000 Americans to better understand the consumer experience of finding, accessing, and paying for healthcare today. The vast majority of consumers agree that COVID-19 will fundamentally change how we receive healthcare in American, with 80% saying that COVID-19 has made telehealth an indispensable part of the healthcare system.

  • 3 in 4 consumers believe telehealth is the future of telemedicine. The vast majority of consumers agree that COVID-19 will fundamentally change how we receive healthcare in American, with 80% saying that COVID-19 has made telehealth an indispensable part of the healthcare system.
  • 65% plan to use telehealth more often than they did before the pandemic. 1 in 4 used telehealth for the first time due to COVID-19, while 16% have used it more often. 79% who used telehealth for the first time during the pandemic said they plan to use telehealth more in the future.

May 2020

The latest Modern Healthcare CEO Survey finds that health system CEOs see a wave of innovation in telehealth over the next year. In addition, 92.9% of CEOs cited telehealth as a technology with the most potential to support response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new poll of more than 1,000 seniors found 52% are comfortable using telehealth to receive health care. Of those who have used telehealth during the coronavirus, 91% reported a favorable experience, and 78% are likely to complete a medical appointment via telehealth again in the future.

April 2020

Findings from the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds that the majority of older adults have an internet connection and communicate via smartphone, tablet, or computer to talk with friends. However, while 68% of adults 65 and older said they have a computer, smartphone, or tablet with internet access at home, only 11% said they have used the device to communicate with a health care provider in the past two weeks. KFF indicates that this number will likely rise as stay-at-home orders are extended.

A survey of 2,000 adults across the U.S. on perceptions of telehealth during COVID-19 found that more than 95% of respondents who had used telehealth said they already have or would consider scheduling another telehealth appointment in the future. The most cited advantages to telehealth were quicker and greater access to care and avoiding overcrowded wait rooms.

A survey of more than 1,300 physicians found that more than 90% are treating some or all of their patients via telehealth. Additionally, roughly 60% of physicians currently using telemedicine tools during the public health emergency said they plan to use telemedicine more often than they were pre-COVID.

March 2020

A March survey found that 59% of the 500 U.S. consumers surveyed said they are more likely to use telehealth services now than previously, and 36% said they would switch their physician in order to have access to virtual care.

COVID-19 Telemedicine Research & Reports

October 2020

According to FAIR Health data for the month of July, telehealth claims lines increased 3,806% from July 2019 to July 2020, jumping from just 0.15% of all medical claim lines to 6.0%. Check back here for the latest.

September 2020

A new study comparing urgent pediatric otolaryngology services through telehealth between March and May 2020 to in-person visits during the same time period in 2019 found that telehealth was able to successfully provide access to services, even for the most vulnerable populations.

August 2020

A new study published this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that providers using a virtual care platform with real-time access to their own prescribing statistics as well as practice-wide statistics reduced their prescribing rates, which would reduce the estimated 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections that occur each year in the U.S.

May 2020

The claims-based analysis suggests that approximately 20 percent of all emergency room visits could potentially be avoided via virtual urgent care offerings, 24 percent of healthcare office visits and outpatient volume could be delivered virtually, and an additional 9 percent “near-virtually.” Furthermore, up to 35 percent of regular home health attendant services could be virtualized, and 2 percent of all outpatient volume could be shifted to the home setting, with tech-enabled medication administration. Overall, these changes add up to $250 billion in healthcare spend in 2020 that could be shifted to virtual or near-virtual care, or 20 percent of all office, outpatient, and home health spend across Medicare, Medicaid, and commercially insured populations. Consumer adoption has skyrocketed, from 11% of US consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46% now using telehealth to replace canceled healthcare visits — 76% of respondents indicated they were interested in using telehealth going forward — 74% reported high satisfaction. In addition, providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times more telehealth visits – with 57% viewing telehealth more favorably now than they did pre-COVID-19.

The number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth skyrocketed in the early weeks of the pandemic. Almost 1.3 million members received telehealth services in the week ending April 18, compared to just 11,000 in the week ending March 7, according to current Medicare claims data — an increase of more than 11,718% in just a month and a half.

Pre-COVID-19 Research & Reports

June 2020

A retrospective review found that a wide variety of urological conditions were seen across video visits – the most common being nephrolithiasis, oncology and andrology. Patients using video visits tended to be younger, would have had to travel longer distances for a clinic appointment and were more likely to be female.

February 2020

A study focused on the use and perceptions of telehealth in rural areas with a focus on Michigan counties, found three major challenges to expanding telehealth options in rural communities including: 1) A lack of funding for program expansion; 2) The need for improved broadband access; and 3) Disparate reimbursement rates for telehealth services from insurance and Medicaid.

According to an American Medical Association (AMA) survey, the proportion of physicians using virtual patient visits doubled between 2016 and 2019 – although adoption remained low with only 28% of physicians reporting they are currently using virtual visits.

2019

American Well released a 2019 Consumer Survey finding expectations are changing with increased demand for convenient access to healthcare services. The survey found that 66% of consumers are willing to receive care through telehealth services, with the largest acceptance among those aged 18 to 34 years, followed closely by 35-44-year-olds. While the senior population had the lowest interest, more than half still indicated they would be willing to use telehealth.

American Well also released a 2019 Physician Survey finding that physician telehealth adoption increased 340% since 2015, with 22% of physicians reporting having used video visits to attend to patients in 2018 compared to just 5% in 2015.

2018

A trends report analyzing place of service found that telehealth service use increased substantially from 2011 to 2016. For example, telehealth use increased 960% in rural areas, 629% in urban areas and 643% nationally. The results also showed that mental health was the number one telehealth-related diagnostic category and accounted for 31% of telehealth claim line distribution in 2016.

According to a 2018 survey of large employers, 96% said they plan to make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed within one year. In addition, nearly 20% of employers indicated at least 8% of their employees utilized telehealth.

In a 2018 proposed rule, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that telemedicine is saving Medicare patients $60 million in travel time, with a projected estimate of $100 million by 2024, and $170 million by 2029.

A group of physicians and researchers from Kaiser Permanente studied “a novel model of integrating telemedicine seamlessly with patients’ ongoing clinicians, EHRs, and delivery systems.” Their findings showed the feasibility and growing adoption of video visits integrated with ongoing clinical care.

2016

The most consistent benefit has been reported when telehealth is used for communication and counseling or remote monitoring in chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease, with improvements in outcomes such as mortality, quality of life, and reductions in hospital admissions.

2014

A study demonstrating the feasibility of and cost of replacing in-person case with acute care telehealth services found that the average estimated cost of a telehealth visit is $40 to $50 per visit compared to the average estimated cost of $136 to $176 for in-person acute care. The study estimated savings per commercial telehealth visit of $126. Also, in Medicare, replacing in-person acute care services with telehealth visits reimbursed at the same rate as a doctor’s office visit could save the Medicare program an estimated $45/visit. The study found a very low likelihood of “induced utilization,” whereby patients who did not previously seek care would now seek care.

The September 2014 issue of Telemedicine and E-Health featured a systemic review by Dr. Rashid Bashshur and Dr. Gary Shannon from the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky, respectively, of evidence from studies on the effects of telemedicine in the management of chronic diseases, specifically, congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The review found that remote patient monitoring of chronic heart failure (CHF) patients for disease management resulted in between 15% and 56% decreased mortality, compared to CHF patients who received traditional care.

Earlier

Data shows telemental health is as effective, if not more effective at treating depression than traditional face-to-face mental health care. A study of close to 100,000 veterans found that the number of days patients were hospitalized decreased by 25% when using telehealth for counseling services.

A hybrid model implementing both store-and-forward and real-time video telehealth technologies in emergency rooms, prisons, nursing home facilities and physician offices across the United States predicted savings of roughly $4.3 billion in health care spending per year.