Survey Reveals Decrease In Telehealth Utilization And Emergency Room Visits Since 2021

A recent survey conducted by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a patient engagement solutions vendor, revealed that the rate of Americans utilizing telehealth has decreased since the onset of the pandemic. The survey, which surveyed more than 1,000 adults, found that 45% of respondents had used telehealth within the last year, with 78% and 71% reported in 2021 and 2020 respectively. Additionally, 93% of participants reported having their last primary care visit in person.

The survey revealed that younger adults (ages 18-34) were much more likely to have used telehealth than older generations (age 55 and up). Furthermore, they were more likely to seek care at nontraditional venues such as retail health clinics and display less provider loyalty. The majority of those who sought care outside a typical clinic said they would do so again, although nearly half said the experience felt disconnected from their other medical care.The report also found that all ages prioritize location and convenience when selecting care, followed by insurance coverage and provider quality and revealed that positive reviews and online scheduling are more important to younger adults, who have been more mentally impacted by the pandemic and are more likely to seek behavioral health care. Telehealth remains popular for both therapy and primary care visits for these younger generations.

The report states that home care is an “untapped resource,” and those that have used it were very satisfied. However, cost seems to be a big obstacle for people seeking care, as a third of adults have delayed some type of care in the past year due to it. Furthermore, younger adults (18-34) are more likely to use the service than those 55 and over. Other reasons for delayed care include a lack of appointment availability, feeling unsafe to get in-person care, and simply forgetting to schedule.

The number of people receiving ER care in 2021 was less than half of what it was in the previous year. Younger adults represented the majority of ER visitors, with ambulance transport decreasing significantly. Of those who required follow-up care, a third did not receive a referral. The report authors concluded that providers should focus on improving appointment scheduling, patient outreach, and continuity of care to ensure patient satisfaction