Increased Demand for Telehealth due to COVID-19 Social-Distancing
Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, telehealth services were not widely adopted. However, the need for social-distancing to prevent the spread of the virus has changed attitudes around their use. Before the pandemic only 1 in 10 US patients had ever used a telehealth service. However, recent surveys now indicate that up to 73% of Americans would be comfortable using telehealth services to be screened for COVID-19. Telehealth services have the potential to significantly reduce the strain on hospitals during the pandemic as remote consultations minimize the need for patients to be hospitalized unless they require emergency care.
Telehealth providers have seen a surge in demand for their services. PlushCare appointments have risen by 70% while Amwell has seen an 158% increase in its app usage since January. Recently, companies like Walgreens, Doctor on Demand and HeyDoctor have also announced the introduction of remote COVID-19 risk assessments based on CDC guidelines. The COVID-19 outbreak has made it clear that telehealth is an important tool for managing public health. It is likely that once patients have become used to easily accessing medical care from their own homes that they will continue to make use of telehealth services even after the pandemic.
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