3d Health, Inc. Blog

Are Virtual Visits a Threat to Your Primary Care Base?

Feb 17, 2017 12:45:03 PM / by M. Shane Foreman

Woman_At_Computer.jpegWith disruptive companies like Amwell, Teledoc, American Well, MDLive, Care Vital and dokita247 offering consumers access to a physician 24 hours a day, from any location in the world, as long as the patient has a computer, tablet or smart phone, we wanted to test to what degree they pose a threat to our clients’ primary care base. So, we surveyed a little more than 3,000 consumers to understand their perspective.

We asked a simple question: “For the same price, who would you prefer to see? 1) Your Doctor at his or her office, 2) Any Doctor via your computer or skype, 3) Any Doctor via your tablet/facetime or 4) Any Doctor via your phone/facetime.

The good news for traditional providers is that 77.4% of respondents would prefer to see their own physician within the office setting. The bad news is that 22.6% of those surveyed would prefer to see ANY physician through a telehealth visit. 7.4% would prefer to use their computer for a visit, 5.3% opted for a tablet with facetime and 9.9% would prefer to meet with a physician via facetime on their smart phone.

When analyzing the results by gender, the respondents’ preferences were very similar to the overall result. Not surprisingly, the real variation in preference came when we looked at responses by age cohort. In the 18 to 24 age cohort, 12% of consumers would prefer to see a physician over their telephone, 7.1% on their computer and 4.5% on a tablet. The results were even more dramatic for the 25 to 34 year olds – a full 28.6% of respondents would prefer a virtual visit with a complete stranger, rather than seeing their own physician in the office!

The 35 to 44 year olds were very similar to the younger cohorts in their preferences, with 25.5% preferring a telehealth visit. The 45 to 54 age cohort shifted back to the overall preferences. As you might expect, the older age cohorts strongly preferred to see their physician within the office setting. 81.8% of people 55 to 64 prefer to see their own physician and the number jumps to 86.3% for people 65 and older. That said, 13.7% of consumers aged 65 and older would prefer a virtual visit.

When analyzing the results by geography, consumers in the South and Midwest had a slightly higher propensity to see their own physician.

The critical question for our clients is whether or not they are going to participate in this shift, or watch it take place. While offering virtual visits might feel like a dramatic departure from the traditional model, we believe that this is simply the first disruption of many to come.

If you would like to discuss the best way to participate in this consumer shift or how to best connect with consumers, please contact Shane Foreman at 312-423-2671 / sforeman@3dhealthinc.com or Brittany Foreman at 281-750-5614 / bforeman@3dhealthinc.com for further discussion.

Have an idea for a question to pose to consumers? Feel free to share it with us and we would be happy to test it in the market!

Topics: Consumer Strategy

M. Shane Foreman

Written by M. Shane Foreman