Applause, the worldwide leader in enabling digital quality, today released the results of its global survey about telehealth services. The survey, which took place in July 2021 and gathered more than 5,000 responses, found that nearly half (46%) of respondents had used telehealth services at least once – 84% of whom used telehealth as a way to avoid in-person activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to see exceptional digital experiences be the key differentiator for brands across all industries, and healthcare is no exception,” said Luke Damian, Applause’s Chief Growth Officer. “Telehealth is fast moving from a nice-to-have to a must-have service. And not only will healthcare providers need to offer telehealth options, they must ensure the experience itself is easy, intuitive and enjoyable to use.”
While telehealth is not new, advances in video meeting apps, smartphone availability and broadband access are enabling more use cases. In 2020, many of those use cases included delivering expanded types of care digitally, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. The results from the survey show that it is quickly gaining traction and has staying power. It is a trend that analyst groups like Gartner are also seeing accelerate at a rapid pace.
In its Product Leader Insight: Guide to the 2021 Healthcare Provider CIO Survey, Gartner analysts found that, “while the pandemic delayed some technology investments, other investments like virtual care were dramatically accelerated. Indeed, telehealth remains the most common technology investment area for 2021.”
The good news for telehealth providers is that most respondents (63%) to Applause’s survey stated they plan to use telehealth more than they did prior to the pandemic. What’s more, over three-fourths (77%) of patients stated they enjoyed using telehealth, despite the fact that 48% said there were things they could not do via the telehealth service that they would like to have done. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a large population of patients to what telehealth could be and they want to see more services made available digitally.
While telehealth is on the rise globally, EMEA respondents lagged behind others in their use of such services. About half of respondents in the Americas (51%) and APAC (49%) have already used telehealth services, while only around a third (37%) of those in EMEA have done the same.
The biggest barrier to telehealth adoption across all regions, according to the survey, is access and availability. Among the 54% of respondents who had not used telehealth services, 46% reported this option was unavailable to them, 39% reported they preferred to see their doctors in person and 8% reported they had no need to consult with a doctor recently.
Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare systems, operates hospitals, urgent care clinics, long-term care facilities, family clinics and surgical centers in six states. When Banner Health launched a new telehealth platform in response to COVID-19, the organization turned to Applause to test its effectiveness.
“One of the things that has set us up for success over the past year and half is the work we’ve done with Applause around our design system. While you can’t predict every experience that you’re going to have to make, if you have a solid foundation and a solid competency around your design system and knowing that it’s tested, and that it is also accessible, it prepares you for the future of unexpected experiences, like standing up a last-minute telehealth experience,” said Mark Schumacher, Senior Director of Digital Experience at Banner Health. “Knowing that things are tested for accessibility and usability are different ways that can help you move fast.”