US citizens residing in rural areas are using telehealth more frequently

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Telehealth News

From July to August of last year, approximately 8000 US residents were surveyed by the healthcare entity. Rock Health has conducted many surveys of this nature in the last seven years to gage how the public treats digital healthcare in the present day and have surveyed close to ten thousand individuals consistently each year.

According to the survey results from 2022, there was an 8% increase in individuals who availed of  telehealth for some form of medical treatment once or more. Respondents who were at least fifty-five years old increased their percentage by twelve points, from sixty-four to seventy six percent in 2022. Similarly, telehealth use among respondents based in rural regions increased to seventy three percent, and for individuals without health insurance it increased approximately half, representing rises of thirteen percent from the previous year. In 2022, eighty two percent of both women and Hispanic identifying individuals claimed to used telemedicine, a nine-percent improvement from the previous year in both categories. In addition, LGBQA+, transgender, and non-binary respondents reported higher rates of telehealth use than those who identify as other orientations. This is of note in transgender individuals, where 98 percent reported using telehealth in 2022. Changes in the utilization of telehealth modality are also revealed by the new data, where it was found that the usage of all other telemedicine modalities increased in 2022 compared to previous year, while usage of live video telemedicine remained at similar rates. In 2022, the percentage of telehealth visits conducted via telephone-only calls increased by over ten percent, now at a level of over half of overall telehealth appointments. In addition, the percentage of visits conducted via health apps and websites rose by eleven percent, email usage increased by nine percent, and text message usage increased by eight percent. Audio only remote healthcare was also analyzed in the discussion section, where the report states: “At present day, audio-only telemedicine visits bring in similar, if not identical, reimbursement dollars but increase access to patients, require less enterprise overhead (e.g., reduced IT investment in maintaining or upgrading live-video software), and allow clinical staff more flexibility for when and how they engage with patients—all factors that encourage provider organizations to continue offering telemedicine “beyond the screen.”

   The survey also reveals that wearable adoption has remained relatively stagnant over the course of the Covid-19 Pandemic. After a ten percent increase from 2019 to 2020, the level of utilization has improved only slightly, reaching forty six percent in 2022, which is up only three percent from the beginning of the pandemic. With respect to younger individuals, respondents with either higher levels of income or of education reported owning a wearable at a rate of seventy four percent, while ownership among individuals classified as older and with lower levels of income or education reached an level of twenty one percent.

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