A recent survey conducted by ZoDoc found many healthcare patients were satisfied with newly introduced Telehealth services. The survey titled; The Healthcare Experience Report 2022 analysed the experience of ZoDoc patients to determine the success of the new remote healthcare system.
What is Telehealth?
In short, Telehealth offers healthcare provision to patients remotely, without the need for patients to appear in front of healthcare professionals face to face. Several years ago, it was predicted that a fair percentage of healthcare interactions could be made virtual, however, the recent Covid-19 Pandemic has resulted in telehealth becoming an exponentially bigger industry than could have been previously estimated. During the first several lockdown periods, the number of outpatients that availed of telehealth services grew from less than a percent, to over thirteen percent. This occurred two years ago, between March and August.
Findings of the survey
Telehealth has become increasingly popular in recent years, and customers should expect an easy to use, efficient service. The ZoDoc survey found that fifteen percent of patients did not receive their expected level of healthcare provision through various difficulties. For healthcare providers, fifty eight percent encountered some degree of difficulty in providing sufficient examination.
It is evident that many patients have chosen to return to in person appointments with their healthcare provider, as the global pandemic continues to dwindle. This was the case in many fields of healthcare. For chiropractic’s and dentists, where a hand on approach is extremely vital, the number of in-patient appointments has returned to approximately 100 percent by May 2022. In other branches of medicine, such as cardiology and urology, the number of individual patients that availed of in person appointments by May of this year also rose significantly. Patient’s using Zodoc were highly likely to book an in-person appointment following an initial virtual check-up, with many of the eighteen percent that make up first time appointment patients choosing to book their follow up appointment in person. One category of healthcare provision saw virtual appointments remain extremely popular following the conclusion several lockdown periods over 2020 and 2021.
The importance of virtual mental health provision
Appointments concerning the mental health of individual patients did not follow the trends of other healthcare providers. In May 2020, mental health appointment bookings were seventy four percent virtual, however, this number increased to eighty seven percent in May 2022. Zodoc opted to interview patients of this nature to uncover the rationale behind continuing to book virtual appointments following the accessibility of in person appointments once again. Patients commented on the ease and comfortability of a virtual appointment, also disregarding the aspect of intimacy that may be perceived as important in an appointment between expert and patient. There may also be a benefit for the practitioner themselves, to see the patient in their natural state. Some practitioners have stated that virtual appointments have given them an insight into the daily life and living conditions of the patient. Patients have also commented on the ability of virtual appointments to give an insight into how the patient truly is day to day.
The need for virtual mental health practitioners is clear, as patients suffering from mental conditions may derive benefit from engaging in appointments virtually, in the comfort of their home. Patients may also see a financial benefit from doing this, due to reduced transport costs and a greater time efficiency which may result in the individual being able to work more.