A survey of US consumers found that 64% of Americans are willing to have doctor visits via video telehealth. The nationally projectable survey of 2,019 Americans age 18+ was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of telehealth operator American Well in December. The survey uncovered key factors important to consumers when it comes to telehealth:

  • Video. Consumers perceive video as the best form of telehealth: 63% of consumers believe that live video visits are more likely to yield an accurate diagnosis than phone or e-mail alone. Among smartphone users, this sentiment was higher at 69%. These views are corroborated by statistics recorded on American Well’s telehealth service, Amwell, where 94% of visits use live video.
  • Consumer Choice. Consumers want to select the doctor they see, not be randomly assigned to one; 88% prefer to choose a doctor based on the credentials, training, and experience provided in a physician’s online profile.
  • Cost. Consumers expect online visits to be cost-savers; 62% thought a video visit should cost less than an in-person visit. With in-office visits costing, on average, $82 for first-time patients according to the Healthcare Blue Book, Amwell offers a $49 physician visit–a savings of $33.

The survey found evidence that telehealth will change the way healthcare is delivered in three key areas:

  • After hours care. Consumers still consider the ER as their first choice for late night urgent care; however, video visits have now become the second choice overall for consumers if their child or a loved one was sick with a high fever, ranking higher than 24-hour nurse lines. Moreover, 21% of people said they would do a video visit first. That number rises to 30% in parents of children under 18.
  • Primary Care. 70% of consumers report that they’d rather have an online video visit than an in-office visit to obtain common primary care prescriptions. Consumers indicate interest in telehealth visits for getting prescriptions refilled (60%), antibiotics (41%), and chronic condition management medication (40%).
  • Choosing a Doctor. A majority of patients say they are willing to see a doctor via video telehealth (64%), and 7% of consumers say they would actually switch primary care doctors to ones that offer telehealth visits. While 7% may seem like a modest number, it represents 20 million. Among the millennial generation, young adults 18-34 years old, this number was higher, at 11%.