As consumers’ comfort with digital health gives way to reliance on these tools, telehealth will fill the care gap with access to quality care, wherever and whenever they need it.
Digital health has reached an inflection point. From fitness trackers to smart toothbrushes and sleep tracking pillows, consumers are increasingly comfortable – and even reliant – upon digital health tools. Telehealth is a natural complement, offering consumers access to quality care, wherever and whenever they need it. Digital health technology continues to become more prevalent. As 90 percent of adults under the age of 65 have smartphones today, consumers are leveraging personal devices and remote services to take control of their healthcare journey at an increasing rate, embracing digital health in their everyday lives. In fact, research shows that two-thirds of Americans either have or are open to using mobile health apps to manage their health. At Teladoc, we’re seeing the affinity of our mobile app grow, with almost one-third of our requested doctor visits now occurring through our mobile app. This digital trend translates to growing adoption of telehealth solutions. As digital health provides an experience that is perfectly aligned with consumers’ lifestyle and their expectations of 24/7 availability, the right telehealth is offering an experience that can provide an impactful role in empowering individuals to make smarter decisions for a broad array of healthcare needs – from treating a child’s fever symptoms to mental health issues to solving dermatological conditions, to offering expert second opinions. As the convenience of telehealth will also be met with growing levels of sophisticated, on-demand technology offerings, expect increases in utilization by consumers. Employers and health plans will also prioritize boosting consumer awareness, one of the final barriers to adoption of telehealth, as meaningful financial savings can be derived from even modest improvements to utilization rates. In 2018, behavior change will continue, and thus telehealth will grow. With the unrivaled value of telehealth becoming more apparent across the continuum of care and consumer utilization on the rise, consumer behavior is shifting for as they seek medical care. And every positive care outcome, further engrains the value of telehealth, raises awareness and consideration and finally, boosts utilization.