COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Surveys Patients on Telehealth Impact During COVID-19

Nationwide Survey Finds ‘High Levels of Satisfaction and Expectations for Future Use’
Son helping father with a telehealth appointment on a tablet.

McLean, VA, and Bedford, MA, April 13, 2021—Today, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition — comprising more than 1,000 healthcare organizations, technology firms, and nonprofits — published the Telehealth Impact Patient Survey. Overall patients reported positive experiences with telehealth visits with 79% of respondents being satisfied with their telehealth visit and 73% expecting to continue to receive healthcare services virtually beyond the pandemic.

The 20-question survey captured the opinions of 2,007 patients across the United States who received at least one telehealth visit during the pandemic and provides insights and data across respondent’s age, type of health insurance and location (rural, suburban, or urban).

The patient survey is part of the Telehealth Impact Study prepared by the coalition’s Telehealth Work Group led by Mayo Clinic and MITRE, with team members from  the American Medical Association, American Telemedicine Association, Change Healthcare, Digital Medicine Society, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, MassChallenge HealthTech, Savvy Cooperative, and The Mighty, and builds upon a previous survey of physicians.

Topline findings show strong patient support for telehealth, including:

  • 78% felt their health concern could be addressed via telehealth
  • 78% said they received telehealth service from their own provider
  • 76% indicated that telehealth removed transportation as a barrier
  • 79% reported they found it easy to use the technology
  • 83% felt patient-physician communication was strong
  • 79% said they were satisfied with their telehealth visit
  • 83% reported good overall visit quality

“It’s really encouraging to see that the high satisfaction scores are consistent across age ranges, insurance type, and regardless of whether the patient lives in an urban, suburban, or rural location,” said Steve Ommen, M.D., medical director, Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care and one of the study’s co-investigators. “The experience with telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes as the potential to deliver healthcare in much more safe and convenient ways. I think that years from now, we will point to 2020 as the year that the potential of digital care delivery became a reality, as long as the regulatory and reimbursement environment is conducive to its growth.”

Dr. John Halamka, president of the Mayo Clinic Platform and co-chair of the coalition, said, "When asked what they would have done during COVID-19 if they didn’t have telehealth access, more than 50% of respondents said they would delay their care. This had been a large problem across the country over the past year and is a strong argument for expanding telehealth services.”

Dr. Jay Schnitzer, MITRE’s chief medical and technology officer and co-chair of the coalition, added, “Both physicians and patients overwhelmingly agree that telehealth is one byproduct of the pandemic that can and should continue on in the ‘next normal.’ COVID-19 has highlighted how our healthcare system needs more tools to serve patients safely and conveniently, and telehealth, when done right, has firmly established itself as an effective option in the patient-care toolbox of today and the future.”

Views from Members of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Work Group

  • Dr. Susan R. Bailey, president, American Medical Association (AMA)

“The COVID-19 pandemic upended healthcare access as millions of patients were required to stay at home and many medical offices closed or sharply reduced in-person services. For many patients, especially those with chronic conditions or at high risk for severe impact from COVID-19, the ability to access their physicians through telehealth services enabled safe, effective care as the pandemic continued. It should come as no surprise that patients report positive experiences with telehealth and want to continue using it after the pandemic. Many physicians and patients can’t imagine reverting to the pre-pandemic barriers to widespread telehealth coverage, but a number of challenges will need to be addressed to preserve and improve the landscape for telehealth coverage in the future. The AMA is working to ensure that telehealth is appropriately used to expand access to care and resolve inequities.”

  • Ann Mond Johnson, chief executive officer, American Telemedicine Association (ATA)

“Patients are making their support for telehealth heard loud and clear, including their expectation to continue to use telehealth post-pandemic. These survey results further validate the urgent need to make telehealth services permanently available as part of a two-channel care delivery system that includes both in-person and virtual care. We continue to advocate for needed legislation, at both the federal and state levels, that will modernize healthcare delivery in order to provide convenient, quality care to all people, no matter where they live.”

  • Tim Suther, senior vice president and general manager, data solutions, Change Healthcare

“Telehealth utilization rose dramatically during the pandemic, with profound implications for future healthcare delivery. Our collaboration with the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition helps ensure the most important questions about telehealth are answered responsibly and with scientific integrity.”

  • Jennifer Goldsack, executive director, Digital Medicine Society (DiMe)

“These findings underscore patient support for telehealth, clearly indicating the central role of telehealth in the post-COVID era. All of us working to improve patient lives through improved access to, experience of, and outcomes from their care, must now recognize telehealth as an essential component of patient-focused care.”

  • Barbra G. Rabson, president and chief executive officer, Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP)

“These findings are consistent with what we are hearing from patients in the surveys MHQP has conducted. While patients report overall that they are quite comfortable using telehealth to access care, particularly patients with chronic conditions, we still have much work to do to improve the technology and training in order to deliver fully on the promise of telehealth for patients of all ages."

  • Dr. Francis X. Campion, co-investigator, MITRE

“The Telehealth Impact Study has captured what we are all learning during the pandemic. Both my patients and physician colleagues are excited to have telehealth as an option. It’s clear that telehealth enables more timely and connected care.”

“The results of this study underscore what patients have known for a long time—that telehealth is a powerful tool that allows a person to meaningfully connect with their provider without disrupting their life. Over the past year, this has been an invaluable way for patients to stay on top of their care and is something that has long-term benefits to patients and providers alike beyond the current pandemic.”

  • Sara Ray, Vice President of Community Insights, The Mighty

"The Telehealth Impact Study has done the important work of measuring the impact of new technologies on access to healthcare during the pandemic. Our members were excited to participate in informing this important work with the patient perspective and their lived experiences to help make telehealth even better moving forward."

About the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition

The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition is a private-sector-led response to the COVID-19 pandemic that brings together healthcare organizations, technology firms, nonprofits, academia, and startups. It coordinates members’ collective expertise, capabilities, data, and insights to preserve the healthcare delivery system and help protect U.S. populations. Learn more at https://C19HCC.org.

Media contact:

Mike Murphy, media@mitre.org