Although mobile/Internet connected health applications are significantly effective at lowering healthcare costs, a March survey of 500 insured customers by HealthMine found that almost 40 percent still have not heard of telemedicine and only a third of health care plans offered as an option.

That’s a problem, because it does help combat rising healthcare costs. A whopping 93 percent of those who do use telemedicine, which allows patients to connect with doctors through smart phones, computers and other devices, say it lower their healthcare costs. Remote visits are faster and less expensive than going to the doctor’s office, emergency rooms, or urgent care clinics.

More than half (53%) of those surveyed who have access to telemedicine say they have used it but many patients (42% in the survey) still prefer traditional in person provider visits. More than a quarter however, say they just don’t know when it’s appropriate to use telemedicine versus traditional.

When would consumers consider using telemedicine? In the survey 44 percent said they would use telemedicine for follow-up care for acute illness, symptom tracking or diagnosis, and medication management and prescription renewal. More than a third said they would use it for follow-up care for a chronic condition.

Others said they would use it for remote monitoring of vital signs, for behavioral mental health, or other conditions. 11 percent said they would not use it for anything.

Bryce Williams, CEO and President of HealthMine said in a statement, “Telehealth will find its place in the health services market as did urgent care centers.” He continued, “Health plan sponsors can play a significant role in educating their members about optimal options for treatment.”

About the Survey
The HealthMine Survey queried 500 consumers who use mobile and/or Internet-connected health applications/devices, and are enrolled in a 2016 health plan. The survey was fielded by Survey Sampling International (SSI) in March of 2016. Data were collected via an opt-in panel. The margin of error is 4 p0ercent.