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Study Finds Telehealth a Popular Option for Households with Children

Featured, Health

Father and daughter on a telehealth call. | Image from Geber86

A new consumer report has found that, in the US, eighty-two percent of broadband households with children use telehealth. In comparison, fifty-one percent of broadband households without children use the service.

Telehealth is the use of computers and mobile devices that allow patients and medical care professionals to provide and manage health care services remotely.

Park Associates, a market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products, surveyed 10,000 households with broadband internet services.

The quarterly survey results show the impact of the pandemic on consumer attitudes and broadband usage and highlight how people have adapted to using broadband devices and services.

“The pandemic has forever changed the trajectory of health and wellness. The industry is undergoing a shift as consumers, especially seniors, have become accustomed to using new technologies for healthcare services and communication,” said Kristen Hanich, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “Out of necessity, the market for remote health technology products and services accelerated five to ten years beyond where we expected it to be pre-pandemic.”

The study showed that, in the second quarter of 2019, fifteen percent of US households with broadband used telehealth services. The number jumped to sixty-four percent in the second quarter of 2021.

Obviously, it’s easier for parents to use telehealth with children instead of physically taking them to see a doctor.

Most larger healthcare systems have a patient portal that allows doctors and patients to communicate about test results, refill prescriptions, schedule appointments and have general conversations about the patient’s health.

In contrast, those households in the survey without children could include seniors who may not be tech-savvy or don’t have access to computers or smartphones.

The Park Associates study on senior assistive technology found twenty-two percent of households with broadband are currently caring for a loved one or expect to within the next five years. In addition to arranging home health care, many caregivers are interested in home health technologies that will assist in providing communication with medical staff remotely.

The benefits of telehealth became apparent during the pandemic as it allowed patients to receive medical services while limiting their exposure to COVID-19. The new technology enables patients to connect with medical staff from any location – at home, at work, or while commuting.

The shorter wait time to see a medical professional and the ability to work with specialists who may live outside of a patient’s hometown are also beneficial bonuses.

There are drawbacks to telehealth, and better systems will need to be coordinated in the future. Telehealth could lead to gaps or overuse in healthcare, patients not using medications properly, or getting unnecessary care. While telehealth may not be a solution for everyone in every situation, it is a convenient tool that will become increasingly prevalent in the future.

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