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Telehealth grew 38X – patients really like it, but most physicians don't

During the pandemic, Telehealth use grew 38X vs pre-pandemic. This was driven by patients who really like it and want more, however, most physicians do not and are trying to do less!

McKinsey research 2020 thru 2021 has important findings:

Both patients and physicians embraced telehealth early in the pandemic, with nearly 1/3 outpatient visits managed virtually then.
By mid-2021 88% of consumers had tried it at some point, and physicians were becoming more comfortable with it.

(83% surveyed in 2021 had offered it vs 13% in 2019).

So what's next?

Consumers want to stay digital:

◊ “In Nov’21, 55% of patients were more satisfied with telehealth/virtual care visits than with in-person appointments.

◊ 35% are currently using other digital services, such as ordering prescriptions online and home delivery. Of these, 42% started using these services during the pandemic and plan to keep using them, and an additional 15% are interested in starting digital services.”

Physicians have faced various challenges and 62% recommend in-person over virtual care:

◊ “Only 45% have been able to invest in telehealth and only 16% in other digital tools. Just 41% believe they have the technology to deliver telehealth seamlessly.

◊ Workflows cause challenges, e.g., physicians need to log into disparate systems that do not integrate seamlessly with an electronic health record (EHR). Audiovisual failures during virtual appointments continue to occur.

◊ In Apr’21, 58% said they lost patients to other physicians or to other health systems since the start of the pandemic.”

Similar to other digital vs physical areas (like shopping!), a seamless IRL (in real life) and URL (virtual) experience is needed so both consumers and physicians’ benefit.

More investment is needed by health institutions to close the gap.

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