Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS August 11, 2021
Access to telehealth kept people out of hospital emergency rooms, new research shows. That’s likely to result in lower claims costs for employers.
About 1 in 7 people (14 percent) who used telehealth said they would have sought care in an emergency department or urgent care facility if telehealth had not been available, and more than half of those people had their primary health issue resolved using telehealth, based on responses from 1,776 adults interviewed June 28 to July 18, 2021.
The survey, conducted by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) and Social Sciences Research Solutions (SSRS), showed that:
One-third of respondents reported having a telehealth visit for themselves or a dependent last year.
8 in 10 adults said their primary health issue was resolved during their telehealth visit.
The most common purpose for a telehealth visit was a preventive service, prescription refill or routine visit for a chronic illness.
Rural residents said they were more likely to use telehealth for surgical consults than people living in non-rural areas.
The survey also found that more than 9 in 10 adults were satisfied with the quality of their visit and were equally satisfied with both audio and video telehealth visits. Older adults were more likely to use audio-only, telephone services, however.
“New telehealth flexibilities have allowed millions of Americans to access health care from home, and as our survey shows, telehealth has the potential to take non-emergency cases out of the emergency department,” said Marilyn Serafini, BPC health project director.
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