Escalent and the Video Collaboration team at Logitech, Inc., today released the results of its Global Virtual Care Experience study. It found that telehealth adoption has risen dramatically among healthcare providers (HCPs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, with about a quarter of medical consultations conducted via telehealth over the past year. Yet while satisfaction with telehealth is on the rise, HCPs have lingering concerns with technical aspects that prevent them from creating optimal outcomes.
The survey results show a gap in access versus efficiency. While 82% of providers believe that telehealth allows patients to receive care they otherwise might not have been able to, only 34% believe that video-based telehealth is more efficient than in-person visits. This suggests that while telehealth has opened the door to access to care, it remains insufficient in terms of clinical efficiency.
This is in large part due to technical limitations. Despite having extensive IT support, HCPs are three times more likely than patients to report technical difficulties, with their largest challenge being issues with the video they are able to deliver to patients. Indeed 82% of all global HCPs have experienced technical issues with their video quality over the past year that they deem serious enough to disrupt the quality of care that they are able to deliver.
As a result, HCPs fear the ramifications of poor video quality with their ever-more-experienced telehealth patients:
“The data show gaps in the telehealth experience that prevent it from producing the outcomes that the industry needs and to sustain its momentum into the future,” said Logitech Global Healthcare Marketing Lead, Heather Peacock. “Virtual care has never been more important, clearly in its relationship to managing through the pandemic, but also as we all try to positively impact access to care and improve chronic care management in the long term.”
She added, “There is a strong sense of urgency to take telehealth adoption and satisfaction to the next level and to do that, we must enable simple, flexible, convenient solutions for patients and their providers to get the best video experience — wherever they are.”
Chronic disease remains the primary strain on the global healthcare system, with estimates showing that complications from these diseases make up seven out of 10 deaths globally. In the U.S. alone, four in 10 adults have more than one chronic disease, and managing chronic illness makes up 75% of the $3.3 trillion that is spent on healthcare in the U.S. annually. Patients worldwide are becoming chronically ill at younger ages, and older patients with chronic illness are living longer.
According to the study, 71% of global patients with chronic illness have used telehealth to visit more than one provider. Chronic condition management (29%) was the top reason for patients using telehealth to visit a provider. Providers agreed that this care delivery mechanism makes sense for chronic care, with it rising to the top of types of care delivered via telehealth: 64% of HCPs use telehealth for this purpose.
“As telehealth continues to gain ground globally, it is promising to see this early, large-scale willingness of use by a patient population that is so well-suited to this care modality,” said Ryan Doornbos, managing director of the Healthcare & Life Sciences practice at Escalent. “Chronic condition management needs to be convenient and accessible, and video-based telehealth is a great way to deliver on this promise.”
Learn more about insights from the study during American Telemedicine Association’s Telehealth Awareness Week and The Source Podcast: A Global Review of Sentiments on Video-Enabled Virtual Care.
Escalent interviewed a sample of 754 patients and 146 HCPs from 22 countries globally, with the survey conducted during July 2021. Respondents were recruited from an opt-in, online panel of research respondents and were interviewed online. As such, any reported margins of error or significance tests are estimated and rely on the same statistical assumptions as data collected from a random probability sample. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.
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