38% of Consumers Prefer Getting Behavioral Health Care Virtually Over In-person
Telehealth has become the new normal for consumers seeking health care. Last year, 80% of consumers said they had used telehealth to access care.
That’s according to a new Consumer Adoption of Digital Health in 2022 survey by Rock Health. Telehealth is still going strong in the behavioral health space, with 38% of survey respondents saying they prefer telemedicine to in-person care for accessing mental health care.
There was also an uptick in seniors, rural residents, women, uninsured and Hispanic consumers adopting telehealth.
“While telemedicine use continues to vary across demographic segments, 2022 saw notable adoption increases among groups that have long been underserved within healthcare,” authors of the report noted.
About 76% of individuals over the age of 55 reported using telehealth, up from 64% in 2021. Additionally, 50% of patients with no insurance said they used virtual care, up 13 percentage points from last year.
While the report focused on consumer trends, authors noted that federal government priorities could make telehealth coverage more accessible after the public health emergency ends in May.
“Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will issue permanent coverage of behavioral/mental telehealth services delivered using audio-only communication platforms and will extend coverage of some non-behavioral/mental telehealth services delivered using audio-only communication through December 31, 2024,” authors of the report wrote. “Where CMS leads, payer organizations typically follow, meaning non-video telemedicine channels are likely to find permanent or longstanding reimbursement pathways—further encouraging provider usage of non-video telemedicine.”
Although adoption of telehealth remains strong, digital health providers haven’t won over the trust of consumers.
In fact, only 28% of consumers say that they trust digital health apps with their health information. Another 52% said they were neutral, and 19% said that they didn’t trust digital health apps with their information.
This comes as digital behavioral health companies have been in hot water for their data sharing practices.
In June, a group of U.S Senators sent a letter to Teladoc’s BetterHelp and virtual mental health provider Talkspace Inc. (Nasdaq: TALK) asking for more information about the companies’ practices on sharing patient data with third parties, protections and informed consent for a case study.
Earlier this week the Federal Trade Commission announced that it intends to ban BetterHelp from data sharing for advertising purposes, as part of a $7.8 million settlement over allegations that it shared sensitive health information with third parties including social media platforms and digital advertisers.