Finally as we wrap up the nursing news this week, let’s look at a recent survey on patients and their interest level in telemedicine programs. A Texas software company, Software Advice conducted the survey of patients and found that 75% of them want more access to telemedicine programs to connect them to health advice and services.

Interest in Health Teleconferencing

Nurse-telemedicine-tabletSoftware Advice is a company that consults with companies on the best EHR software to purchase. They surveyed over 500 people about their health technology preferences and desires. Most patients had never participated in a telemedicine healthcare visit but were interested in using such services like teleconferencing with a healthcare provider to get initial care.

71% of the people would prefer seeking their care for minor health problems in an online environment rather than going to the ER or doctor’s office. This could result in a huge savings since the average ER visit in the U.S. costs over $2,000 while an online telemedicine consultation would cost as little at $40.

Patients Expect Similar Quality of Care

The reasons for the preference to using online healthcare services were that patients felt they would get similar quality of care, they wouldn’t have to travel to the hospital and they could stay at home without waiting a long time for care. Almost 70% said they thought that using more telemedical services would actually improve their healthcare experience.

Some people in the study were uncomfortable with using this type of technology and would prefer an in-person visit so the local ER and urgent care clinics are not going away anytime soon. But, this survey does point out some public perceptions that should lead to further experimentation and study.

I know that my own health insurance provider offered a new telemedicine service for minor problems this year for a small copay. It will be interesting to see how that program does moving forward.

Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Managing Diabetes With Technology and Episode 333.

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