What You Should Know:
– Consumer fears of seeking in-person medical care is rising as states begin reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data from Black Book Research and Sage Growth Partners.
– The data reveals that while some may delay care due to concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19, others are willing to leverage telehealth – though this is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
As states begin reopening businesses and the number of coronavirus cases continue to climb, new data reveals that consumers are increasingly fearful of visiting doctors’ offices and hospitals, according to a new survey from Black Book Research and Sage Growth Partners. While some may delay care due to concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19, others are willing to adopt telehealth; however, perception is impacted by age, gender, and income levels.
The findings from a third joint survey tracking evolving consumer attitudes related to challenges, needs, and perspectives during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was administered to 591 U.S. healthcare consumers during the week of April 27, 2020, and updates the series that initiated March 23, 2020, to capture changing attitudes as this situation evolves.
Key findings from the third consumer survey include:
We’re not getting back to business, as usual, any time soon.
– Since the second survey, there has been a 6-point increase in consumers who say they feel unsafe going to their doctor’s office, up to 33%.
– In addition, 41% of consumers say they would feel unsafe visiting a hospital (a 4-point increase) and 40% of consumers say they would feel unsafe at urgent care.
– Only 13% of respondents report being extremely likely to return to their doctor’s office for non-emergent care within the next two months. One in five (20%) report being somewhat likely, 20% are neither likely or unlikely, 23% are unlikely and 24% stated they are extremely unlikely.
Telehealth appears to be an effective means of accessing care
– The majority of respondents (78%) who have used telehealth were satisfied with their experience.
– The overwhelming majority of respondents (78%) who have used telehealth were satisfied with their experience. Forty-three percent of consumers found their virtual visits as effective as an in-person appointment with a healthcare provider, and 31% said it was better than in-person visit.
The more money you make, the more likely you are to have and use telehealth services
– Access rises with income: Only 36% of people making less than $25K say they have access to telehealth. This rises as income rises: 55% of people making $50K to $100K, 70% of those earning $100K to $200K, and 70% of those with an income of $200K+ have access.
Anxiety dips but remains high; more than a third still want more access for remote behavioral and mental health services.
– More than a third (35%) want increased access to remote behavioral or mental health services to help them treat and manage anxiety, depression, and social isolation – however, this number has dropped from 47% in the April survey and 45% in the March survey, the lowest point yet.
– Age plays a role: 46% of respondents age 18 to 24, and 47% of those 25 to 49, said they want more remote access to behavioral and mental health services. Only 25% of respondents age 55-64 and 12% of those 65+ desired these services.
We’re not all having the same telehealth experience. Men and women’s views differ sharply.
– Men prefer video visits: 49% of male respondents preferred to conduct their telehealth visits via video, compared to 30% of female respondents.
– Women prefer visits via phone: 49% of women compared to 35% of men would rather use the phone for their virtual healthcare visit.
– Maintaining relationships: 68% of women chose telehealth visits from healthcare providers with whom they had an existing relationship, compared to 51% of men.
– Older adults are reluctant to use telehealth: The overwhelming majority of consumers age 55 to 64 (81%) and age 65+ (84%) who have access to telehealth, have not had a virtual/ telemedicine visit. This compares to 50% of consumers under the age of 55 who have had a virtual/telemedicine visit.
Trust in handling of COVID-19 at all levels of government has plummeted.
– There has been a 20-point drop to 10% of people who believe the Trump administration rates a 1 (best) and a 15-point increase to 42% of those who believe the administration rates a 10 (worst).
For more information about the joint survey, visit here.