The Growth Channel

Virtual visits: The new data on demand

by Anna Yakovenko

Verizon just announced that it's entering the telehealth space, joining the likes of vendors such as American Well, Teladoc, Stat Doctors, and MDLive.  But many providers I’ve spoken with remain wary of virtual visits and wonder if there will be enough demand from consumers to justify the investment.

We think so—at least among certain cohorts. 

According to our 2014 Primary Care Consumer Choice survey of nearly 4,000 respondents, 46% said they would consider using email or webcam to communicate with a doctor the next time they needed medical care for a cold, flu, or similar illness. The respondents who are most interested (and therefore your best initial targets) are: 

  • Younger: 54% of 18-29 year olds said they would consider using virtual visits compared with 35% of those 65+.

  • Wealthier: 49% of those making $71,000+ would consider using virtual visits compared with 42% of those making less than $24,000.

  • Ethnically diverse: 60% of Asians, 58% of Hispanics, and 55% of African Americans would consider using virtual visits compared with 43% of non-Hispanic white respondents.

  • Busier: 53% of those that work 35 or more hours would consider using virtual visits compared with 48% of those working less than 35 hours and 41% of those currently not employed.

Knowing your target audience is only the first step, however, since willingness to try does not equal automatic high adoption rates.  Providers that have successfully driven virtual visit adoption:

  • Offer multiple virtual access points, such as online chat, video, and secure messaging, to meet consumer communication preferences.
  • Provide 24/7 physician coverage to ensure quick access to care.
  • Facilitate trial by offering a per-visit price model instead of or in addition to a subscription model.

To learn the specifics of institutions’ pricing models, for both per visit and subscription options, read our latest white paper, Telehealth: Driving Adoption of Virtual Visits.

More from the Marketing and Planning Leadership Council

Want to know how many survey respondents prefer email over webcam visits? Check out our latest briefing, What Do Consumers Want from Primary Care? 10 Insights from the Primary Care Consumer Choice Survey.