Expert insight on telehealth strategies and trends

September 29, 2020

In a recent Q&A-style interview, Medical Economics spoke with Caroline Brennan, PhD, Vice President of the Health Division of Escalent, a health care research firm, to learn more about telehealth strategies and recent trends.

As we discussed in the September issue of Contemporary OB/GYN, virtual visits are making their way to the forefront of health care.

This in-depth guide offers practical advice to ob/gyns on conducting virtual Well Woman visits and provides practitioners with all the information needed to conduct a successful virtual assessment.

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Medical Economics recently held a Q&A-style interview with Caroline Brennan, PhD, Vice President of the Health Division of Escalent, a health care research firm, to learn more about telehealth strategies and recent trends.

Medical Economics: How much of the reluctance to use telehealth comes from not having a comfort level with the technology? And how can doctors help patients overcome that?

Brennan: What's interesting is when we started our research on this, we thought that the technology barrier would be significant. And what we found is not that many people expressed concern about technology, about not being tech-savvy, or not having some tools at home, to have these telehealth visits. But nonetheless, any time any of us go on a new website and login and use technology for the first time, there's always some apprehension. So I think what the doctors’ offices can do is provide very detailed login information, exactly what needs to be downloaded, how it's going to work, maybe even provide some test runs, so that people can get more comfortable with it before they actually show up for that first appointment.

Medical Economics: Is there a certain patient demographic that prefers telehealth?

Brennan: We found in our study that people of all walks of life were using telehealth—all ages, all income levels, socio-economic backgrounds. However, we did see that those who were seniors, or older folks, as well as those with lower incomes, we're not using it quite at the same rate as others, which is interesting, especially for the seniors. They might be a particular group of people who would really benefit from telehealth not just during COVID to reduce their risk of exposure, but longer-term, in terms of mitigating some transportation concerns that they have, or especially if they have a lot of medical appointments.

Medical Economics: What does the long-term future of telehealth look like in the US?

Brennan: Based on what we're hearing, it certainly is not going to replace in-person visits. But I do think it will remain as a viable option in a lot of cases for a lot of people. At first, for very specific conditions and situations. But I think telehealth is here to stay and really anything that will increase people's access to health care is a win in my book.

Visit Medical Economics for the full interview.