A new study published in the JAMA Open Network identifies characteristics of patients who are more likely to choose telemedicine over office visits with the same primary care clinicians.
The study authors examined data from 1.1 million patients that had 2.2 million primary care visits from Jan. 1, 2016, to May 31, 2018. Patients were able to choose office, video or telephone visits and ultimately 86 percent of the visits were in-office while 14 percent were telemedicine visits. Half of the telemedicine visits were through video.
The findings include:
1. Patients age 18 to 44 years old more likely to choose telehealth than patients 65 years old or older.
2. Patients with access to internet were more likely to choose telehealth than those in areas with low access.
3. When clinics required paid parking, patients were more likely to select telehealth.
“Telemedicine may offer the potential to reach vulnerable patient groups and improve access for patients with transportation, parking or cost barriers to clinic visits,” concluded the study authors.