Survey: 41 percent of consumers have never heard of telemedicine

By Jonah Comstock
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TeladocVideoVisitForty-one percent of consumers have never heard of telemedicine, according to a new survey of 1,200 consumers conducted by Survey Sampling International on behalf of HealthMine. That number goes down for millennials, just 30 percent of whom say they haven't heard of telemedicine, but it goes up for the 45 to 64 age group, 46 percent of whom hadn't heard of telemedicine.

HealthMine is a consumer health engagement company, and as such has a stake in gauging consumer awareness of health technology trends.

“Telemedicine has the potential to deliver convenient and affordable basic healthcare to people of all ages," Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine said in a statement. “Wellness programs can be the place where consumers are educated on the best way to access healthcare services, whether it be through a doctor’s office, emergency room, urgent care center, or telemedicine visit. Plus, telehealth is evolving to more than telephone visits. Soon, your smartphone will be a stethoscope and more.”

In the survey consumers were asked whether they would use telemedicine if it was offered by their physician as an alternative to traditional doctor visits, and whether they understood when it was best to use telemedicine. For the second question, "I've never heard of telemedicine" was included as a response option.

Overall, 45 percent of respondents said they would use telemedicine if it was offered, 16 percent said they wouldn't, and 39 percent weren't sure. The number who said they would use telemedicine rose to 58 percent for millennials (25 to 34-year-olds) and dropped to 37 percent for 55 to 64-year-olds. However the difference was mostly in how many were unsure -- the portion of each group that answered "no" was 15 percent for millennials, 17 percent for seniors, and 16 percent for all age groups in between.

Forty-three percent of total respondents said they knew when it was best to use telemedicine, 16 percent said they didn't, and 41 percent said they hadn't heard of telemedicine. Fifty-two percent of millennials and 46 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds felt they knew when to use telemedicine compared to 38 percent of 55 to 64-year-olds and just 34 percent of 45 to 54-year-olds.

Earlier this month, a 500-person survey from TechnologyAdvice found that some 35 percent of consumers said they would likely choose a virtual visit over an in-person one. The survey also found that 56 percent of respondents would be somewhat or very uncomfortable conducting a doctor visit using a telemedicine offering. On the other hand, 75 percent of people said they would not trust a diagnosis that a doctor made over a video visit, or would trust it less than if they met with a doctor in person.