What You Should Know:
– Patient Perspectives on Virtual Care, a new study published today by Kyruus, reveals 72% of consumers had their first-ever virtual visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a vast majority would like to continue using it in the future.
– The survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-65+ takes an in-depth look at their use and perceptions of virtual care during COVID-19.
A majority of healthcare consumers had their first-ever virtual visit during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published by Kyruus. The survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-65+ takes an in-depth look at their use and perceptions of virtual care during COVID-19.
The findings, published in the Patient Perspectives on Virtual Care report, reveal that nearly three-quarters of respondents engaged in their first virtual care visit ever during the initial surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States and over 75% were very or completely satisfied with their virtual care experiences. However, the results also suggest that healthcare organizations have an opportunity to enhance patient experience, acquisition, and retention by making virtual care scheduling and follow-up more seamless.
Virtual Care Patient Experience
The survey examined patients’ experiences accessing virtual care, their sentiment around the visits themselves, and their demand for virtual care in the future. Not only did the majority of respondents rate their experiences with virtual care positively, but 50% also indicated they would be willing to switch providers to have virtual visits on a regular basis.
Key Areas of Improvement for Organizations
The findings also uncovered two key areas of improvement for healthcare organizations: meeting patient demand for online scheduling – 54% of respondents would prefer it – and enhancing post-visit communication. In terms of the latter, less than half of respondents said they left their visits knowing what the next steps were and less than one-third received written or email follow-up – two of several gaps the survey responses revealed around closing the loop after virtual visits.
Other key findings include:
● Patients most commonly had virtual visits for routine and ongoing care in recent months: Respondents cited wellness check-ins and care for chronic conditions among the primary reasons they sought virtual care (41% and 30% of responses, respectively). Acute and mental health needs also exceeded 20%. COVID-19-related symptoms represented only 14% of responses.
● Patients want to utilize virtual care for a broad range of needs moving forward: Patients reported being very or extremely likely to utilize virtual care for a wide variety of appointments in the future, with the top three being wellness check-ins (60%), surgery/procedure-related visits (58%), and visits for COVID-19-related symptoms (58%).
● Patients conveyed high demand for online scheduling: While only 30% of all respondents booked their virtual visits online, 54% would prefer this booking method in the future. Online is the clear preference among both Gen Xers at 72% and Millennials at 64% (versus 38% for Baby Boomers).
● Despite the high demand for virtual care, awareness about how to access it is relatively low: Less than half of respondents said they understood clearly how they could access virtual care visits again in the future after their visits were over.
● Patients still plan to utilize virtual care even if they have to pay out-of-pocket: Almost half of the respondents said they would still utilize virtual care to some degree in the future even if their insurance does not cover it: 25% whenever possible and 21% on a limited basis.
“The strain that COVID-19 placed on patient access propelled an unprecedented rise in virtual care availability and adoption,” said Dr. Erin Jospe, Chief Medical Officer at Kyruus. “This survey shows that patients have not only embraced it as a short-term alternative to in-person visits, but that they also now seek it as a permanent part of their healthcare. As healthcare organizations correspondingly expand their virtual care offerings, it will be essential to drive awareness of them across access channels, diversify booking options, and ensure more closed-loop experiences.”