Less Than 10% of People Have Used Telehealth Services, but Appetite Is High, Particularly for Mental Health Services
Data science firm Civis Analytics launched its Voice of the Patient research initiative, designed to increase understanding of consumer attitudes and motivators related to healthcare. The first studies in the series, also released today, sought to answer two distinct questions:
- What does the telehealth market look like today, and where is the greatest demand for the future? (Meeting Demand for Telehealth)
- How do parents feel about HPV vaccinations, and how do you persuade them to follow HPV vaccination recommendations? (Improving Support for HPV Vaccination Through Persuasive Messaging)
An overview of each report follows.
Meeting Demand for Telehealth
In June 2019, Civis surveyed 2,840 U.S. adults, weighted to be representative of the American public. Relevant findings include:
There is significant interest in telehealth services, but few patients have actually used them: Only 9% have used telehealth services, and they are more likely to be young, male, and from a rural community. However, 68% of those who have not used telehealth services are interested in doing so in the future.
- To date, virtual care is most frequently used for consultations related to mild conditions such as acid reflux and pink eye, followed by prescription refills.
Patients are particularly interested in virtual care for mental health services, prescription refills and sexual health consultations: 57% of those that plan to use mental health services expressed interest in virtual consultations. There is also a high interest in telehealth for prescription refills (46%) and sexual health consultations (40%).
- These three use-cases are also the biggest motivating factors for switching from a traditional provider. 75% said they would switch doctors to receive virtual sexual health consultations; 66% said the same about mental health services; 56% said they would switch for prescription refills.
Improving Support for HPV Vaccination Through Persuasive Messaging
In April 2019, Civis Analytics surveyed 2,491 U.S. parents of children under 18 (weighted to be representative of the American public), and found that while 83% of all respondents have heard of HPV, few are well-informed about the virus. After asking a series of true/false questions to parents, only 6% correctly answered all statements, while 20% did not answer any of the questions correctly.
The survey respondents were then divided into four groups, three that saw a message related to HPV vaccination, and one control group that did not see a message. Civis asked respondents how important they believe it is for children to receive the HPV vaccination before the age of 14 both before and after seeing one of these messages (or the control). After data collection, Civis built and ran a statistical model that calculated the impact of each message on support for HPV vaccination, controlling for respondent characteristics.
- The “HPV Causes Cancer” message emphasized HPV health risks (including various cancers) as well as success of the HPV vaccination in reducing the incidence of these outcomes.
- The “HPV Is Common” message emphasized that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and nearly half of all new infections occur in and are transmitted by teens and young adults of both sexes.
- The “HPV Vaccine Is Safe” message highlighted that the HPV vaccination has a reassuring safety record backed by years of monitoring and research, and has only minor side effects, with no evidence that the vaccine causes cancer or infertility.
This test found that informing parents about the negative health outcomes associated with HPV (the “HPV Causes Cancer” message) is the message most likely to increase support for vaccinations. Although concern about side effects was the most common reason given for not vaccinating, the “HPV Vaccine is Safe” message was not effective at increasing support for vaccination, and in fact could cause backlash (a net decrease in support).
“More than ever, healthcare services and technologies are considerate of patient attitudes and desires as they innovate and evolve,” said Crystal Son, who leads Civis Analytics’s healthcare practice. “The concept of ‘consumerization of healthcare’ depends on a full understanding of the patient outside of the clinical setting, though. We’re hoping this new series sheds some light on how consumers feel, think, and act when it comes to healthcare.”