As telehealth plays an increasingly significant role in the conversation around health care, the question naturally arises, who will be the first real adopters? Studies have indicated that demand for virtual health care services will mostly likely originate with the younger generations. Here are a few potential reasons why:
- They’re technically savvy. Having grown up with the internet, email, smartphones, and social media, connecting via digital media is second nature to most Millenials. Receiving health care via these digital mediums would be a natural extension of their current lifestyle.
- They’re used to convenience. Our societal attention span is at an all-time low and younger generations in particular are used to having everything available at their fingertips. With the influx of newly insured patients under The Affordable Care Act, demand for face time with health care professionals will only increase, as will wait times. Telemedicine offers an easy and effective way to bypass the wait times typically associated with doctor appointments.
- They’re counting their pennies. With a still-recovering economy and a health care system in desperate need of reform, everyone is looking to cut costs where possible, a fact especially true among younger generations. With a growing number of employers and insurers now covering telemedicine services, it’s becoming an increasingly attractive option for budget-conscious Millenials. According to an article on MarketWatch.com, the average telemedicine consultation costs less than $50, while the average visit to a retail health clinic costs somewhere between $55 and $75. A visit to an urgent care center will run around $120 while a trip to the emergency room can set patients back by $400. Adopting telemedicine for standard care appointments and for preventative medicine will alleviate these potential financial burdens.
While Millenials may prove the early adopters of telemedicine, the appeal is hardly limited to the younger generations. Telehealth will doubtless play a crucial part in the changing landscape of health care in the United States over the next several years.
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