Survey: 64 percent of patients willing to have video visits with docs

By Aditi Pai

AmWell Harris Poll surveySixty four percent of patients are willing to participate in a video visit with a doctor, according to an online Harris Poll survey of 2,019 adults aged 18 and up conducted in December 2014. Telehealth company American Well commissioned Harris Poll to conduct the survey.

Of those that were willing to visit with their doctor over video, 61 percent said convenience was a factor in this decision.

Seven percent of respondents who had been with their doctor for less than a year said they would switch doctors to get online video visits. And 10 percent of respondents who had been with their doctor for two to four years said they would switch. Younger people were more likely to switch to a physician that offered video visits. Eleven percent of patients between the ages of 18 and 34 said they would switch, while 8 percent of patients aged 35 to 44 said they would switch. 

The survey also asked the patients what they would prefer to do if they or a loved one were sick with a high fever and needed medical attention in the middle of the night. Forty four percent of patients said they would go to the emergency room, 21 percent chose video visits, 17 percent would call a 24 hour nurse line, and 5 percent said they would use an online symptom checker. Patients with children under age 18 preferred video visits 30 percent of the time, which was higher than the overall average -- 21 percent.

Overall, 70 percent of patients said they would prefer to receive a prescription via online video visit vs an in-person office visit. Of those surveyed, 60 percent would be comfortable getting an Rx refill via video visit. About 42 percent of women aged 18 to 32 who participated in the survey said they'd be comfortable getting an Rx for birth control via video visit. Finally, 41 percent would be interested in getting antibiotics through the video visit.

Consumers, of course, want these video visits to be affordable. A majority of respondents, 62 percent, thought video visits should be cheaper than an in-person visit. Another 22 percent said they should be about the same and 5 percent said they should cost more.