Millennials Expect Telehealth and Organizations Make the Shift Toward Virtual Care

The convenience of going online to find a restaurant, talk to friends, watch a movie, shop for groceries, and pay bills has many millennials eager to open up their smartphones for another vital part of life – healthcare. And healthcare organizations are listening.

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New data shows that millennials have embraced telemedicine as they move away from traditional medical practices, and are more comfortable researching healthcare plans and doctors. We’ve written before about the pros and cons of telemedicine in North Carolina, with cost and security being the top concerns. Data from HealthTech shows that with the majority of millennials in favor of telehealth, it may be here to stay.

HealthTech reports:

“While telemedicine may seem like a relatively new revolution in the healthcare sector, a survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, conducted in fall 2017 and released in March 2018, has found that millennials prioritize telehealth above other generations and view it as a key part of their care.

In fact, 40 percent of millennials — the generation born between 1981 and 1997 — report in the survey that telehealth is an “extremely or very important option” when it comes to their care. This is a huge jump over the generations before them: Only 27 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of baby boomers ranked telemedicine equally as important. . .

This generational move toward remote care is paired with a growing acceptance of telehealth across the board. While a large portion of people in the U.S. say they might not jump at the chance to schedule a virtual visit for their next consultation, 57 percent of those surveyed in a recent Business Insider Intelligence Insurance Technology Study say they could be convinced.”

Healthcare organizations and medical colleges have taken note. Telemedicine can be beneficial to rural patients who may not be able to travel many miles for minor medical needs, and virtual care is already in place at institutions like Penn Medicine.

“You can use telemedical care in post-op care; you can use it in end-of-life care,” Dr. William Hanson III, Penn Medicine’s chief medical information officer, told HealthTech in a previous article. “There are a lot of ways in which telemedicine can really significantly change the way that we care for patients today, and the technology gets better and better every year in terms of the fidelity of transmission.”

But even as technology improves and changes, so do the needs of those using it. In a few years, telemedicine may be out, and something new may be in. Healthcare has to change with it.

HealthTech continues:

“In preparation for this transition to more virtual care options, training in telemedicine is on the rise. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, 84 medical schools included telemedicine as a topic in required or elective courses in the 2016–17 academic year, up from 57 institutions in 2013–14.

While training and adoption are up, however, the authors of the Employee Benefit Research Institute Study warn that millennial appetites for virtual care could change along with their health needs.

‘An open question is whether the way millennials engage with the healthcare system changes as they age and as a higher percentage of them move away from being dependents on their parents' plans,’ the study’s authors say, MobiHealthNews reports. ‘Millennials may answer questions one way today because of their current life stage, but that may change in the future.’"

For more on this story, visit HealthTech.com.

Are you ready for a virtual doctor visit? Would you use telemedicine if it was available to you? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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