A group of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, set out to determine patient desirability, feasibility, and viability with modern telemedicine options. The results were surprising.
A sample size of 301 survey respondents yielded a few insightful statistical points. First, researchers found out that 84% of respondents had a usable endpoint device, meaning a phone, tablet, or computer with a working microphone and camera. Most were on broadband. Those with technology concerns should be relieved — adoption issues will not stem from technical inability.
The willingness of patients to engage with a telemedicine program was high. Well over half would participate if given the option. A full 38% said they were “very likely” to engage. The age breakdown skewed towards and older demographic with the average being 57.9 years old. Thus, even though most patients had access to appropriate technology, it was not a surprise that they had little experience conducting telepresence calls, e.g. Skype. These two points in conjunction are important: the gap between high willingness and lower experience shows that patients view the potential for telemedicine very favorably.
The results of the study clearly showed that telemedicine is on the verge of widespread market adoption. Like most markets, supply and demand must both be present to be viable, and healthcare presents additional challenges because of reimbursement challenges with telemedicine services. This one study is yet another data points towards evidence that demand exists. It is now up to healthcare providers to innovate and drive change.
Thankfully, many smart companies are working hard on the supply side. Two Datica customers, Zipnosis and Telepharm, are true innovators. As we start to see healthcare administrators focus more on innovation, telemedicine is poised to be a growing industry.