Is Telehealth Here to Stay?

A new report from researchers at the University of Michigan comprehensively looks at the telehealth trends, adoption, access, cost and quality, and user experience. The report is a work product of research from the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s Telehealth Research Incubator and researchers from the University of Michigan. 

Covid-19 has resulted in a major surge in telehealth. Prior to Covid-19 pandemic, less than 1% of healthcare clinicians and patients had used telehealth services. However, the researcher notes that telehealth has for the major part been used as a substitute for in-person care. 

Few notable key findings from the report: 

  • “Smaller and rural practices have lower rates of telehealth use. 
  • Compared to non-users, patients using direct-to-consumer telehealth are more likely to be female, be a nonelderly adult, live in an urban area, and have fewer comorbidities.
  • Patients who are older, are African-American, need an interpreter, have Medicaid as a primary insurance, and live in a zip code with low broadband access were less likely to use video visits
  • Patients who live in rural zip codes had a lower probability of using video visits, low broadband access—not just rurality—appears to more strongly predict the probability of using video visits. 
  • Individual patient demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic factors will influence the probability of using video visits, many patients will face multi-factorial barriers to care. By predicting each patient’s probability of using video visits, one can determine the overall probability that the population of patients for a particular health system, county, or state will use video visits. 
  • When all costs are taken into account, video visits and in-person visits cost approximately the same, and patients were no more likely to cancel or fail to show up for a video visit than they were for in-person visits.”

“Patients who live in rural zip codes had a lower probability of using video visits, low broadband access” indicates a need for looking into “telehealth dessert” (look at my research on pharmacy dessert at here, here and here). Telehealth dessert would be an interesting research area as we look at telehealth increasing adoption strategies.

While the covid-19 accelerated the pace of telehealth adoption, there are many unmet needs and issues to address (see here), but one thing is sure, telehealth is here to stay and grow!  


Telehealth Research Incubator Research Snapshots at  

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