Do patients want video doctor visits?

February 19, 2015

A majority of Americans say they would be willing to use videos for their physician visit, according to a Harris Poll survey.

A majority of Americans say they would be willing to use videos for their physician visit, according to a Harris Poll survey.

Of the 64% of patients who said they would visit their doctor via video, 61% said convenience was a deciding factor.

Related: App coined ‘Instagram for doctors’ makes waves 

Telehealth company American Well commissioned the online poll, which surveyed 2,019 adults aged 18 years and older.

The rise of mobile health and medicine has allowed patients to access medical care easily,” said Richard Awdeh, MD, director, technology transfer, and assistant professor, ophthalmology, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. “The statistics show that patients have in fact opted to see their doctor for an online video consult, and, for non-urgent or critical matters.

“I believe that we will see more of this as a method to increase access to care,” Dr. Dr. Awdeh added. “As technology continues to improve, I envision mobile diagnostics and patient monitoring to become a part of patient care.”

According to the survey, 7% of the respondents who had been with their physician for less than 1 year said they would switch physicians to get online video visits. Additionally, 10% of the respondents who had been with their physician for 2 to 4 years said they would switch as well.

 

Younger people were more likely to express willingness to switch to a physician who offered video visits, as 11% of patients between the ages of 18 and 34 said they would switch, while 8% of patients aged 35 to 44 years old said they would switch.

However, there were situations where patients would not defer to video physician visits.

Further reading: New mobile device aims to supplement patient office visits

When asked what they would prefer to do should a loved one need medical attention during the night, 44% of patients said they would go the emergency room; 21% chose video visits; 17% said they would call a 24-hour nurse line, and 5% said they would use an online-symptom checker.

Respondents with children under 18 years old preferred video visits 30% of the time, which the survey noted was higher than the overall average of 21%.

Seventy-percent of patients said they would prefer to receive their prescriptions through online video visits versus an in-person office visit.

Interestingly, the survey asked respondents if they felt video visits should be less expensive than an office visit. The majority, 62%, of patients said video visits should be more affordable than in-person visits. Only 22% said they should be near the same price, while 5% said they should cost more.

Regardless, Dr. Awdeh said he believes mobile health will only lead to positive changes for physicians and their patients.

 

“These technologies will ultimately improve patient care and provide for an enhanced patient journey and doctor-patient relationship,” he said.

 

To stay on top of cutting-edge advancements, subscribe now to Ophthalmology Times enewsletter!