Physician Views: Does COVID-19 mark a turning point for telehealth?

The push for an alternative approach to face-to-face medical consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to more people turning to telehealth and online medical services when seeking medical care. 

China’s largest virtual healthcare platform, Ping An Good Doctor, has reportedly recorded a jump in new users of its services as well as an increase in utilisation during January and February as the situation peaked. While Teladoc Health, the largest provider of telehealth services in the US, has kept coy about how COVID-19 outbreak will benefit its top-line, the firm will nonetheless benefit from the recent signing of a bill by President Trump to relax restrictions on the use and reimbursement of telehealth services to help battle this public health emergency.

FirstWord is snap-polling general practitioners in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US to assess how widespread the adoption of telehealth platforms have been in primary care and whether physicians believe this pandemic could mark a turning point where telemedicine and virtual care technologies become mainstream medical practice in the long term. 

 

Here are the questions we are asking:

 

Q1. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, what proportion of your outpatient/clinic work was conducted using an online or telemedicine approach?

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Q2. How has your interaction with patients changed since the start of the year, when the coronavirus spread started to accelerate?

 

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Q3. How likely will you maintain this change in your practice when the coronavirus outbreak has died down?

 

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Q4. Which group - the government, patients, physicians or telehealth companies - do you think has been the key driving force to push the use of telehealth/digital platforms during this coronavirus outbreak?

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Q5. It is predicted that the coronavirus outbreak will be the catalyst that pushes telemedicine and digital health platforms into mainstream medical care. On a scale of 1 to 5, how much do you agree with this statement? 

 

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Look out for the results next week, or register to get our daily FirstWord MedTech newsletter and access our coronavirus coverage - including these and other COVID-19-related poll results - for free.

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