As the nation’s health care landscape shifts to more consumer-driven and accountable care models, mobile platforms, telehealth and other technology solutions are taking on more important roles as a means to connect to the patient outside the traditional clinical setting.

Digital health research from Parks Associates finds that more than 50 percent of U.S. broadband households with access to online services such as prescription refills, real-time video calls with a doctor, or appointments use these services.

The demand for additional services also is high with nearly 20 percent of U.S. broadband households – more than 17 million households – are interested in a live chat service with health experts, according to the firm’s recently released survey. In addition, 13 percent are interested in virtual tools to manage medications, and 15 percent are interested in post-surgery virtual monitoring.

Jennifer Kent, a senior digital health analyst at Parks Associates, presented this new research on consumer usage and interest in virtual health tools last week during mHealth + Telehealth World 2013 in Boston.

“The virtual health care market is still in its early stages, with 56 percent of U.S. broadband households without or unaware of online health care services available to them,” Kent said. “Many companies also have a vested interest in developing and deploying virtual health care as these services can lower costs and even provide differentiation as health reforms try to push more competition in choice of providers/facilities.”

Parks Associates is an international market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Kent is part of the Digital Health and Mobile Product research team.

mHealth + Telehealth World 2013, supported by Parks Associates, is an event for health care executives interested in proven strategies for taking mHealth and telehealth models from innovation to value.

Earlier this year, Parks also released a report that found 5 percent of households with broadband connectivity have at least one digital fitness device — like a Fitbit, Jawbone UP, or a BodyMedia FIT Armband.