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During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in telehealth consultations between community members and health professionals.
In July, we launched a telehealth survey to understand people’s experiences of accessing telehealth via phone and / or video, and whether you would like to see telehealth continue beyond COVID-19.
It is great to see that 97% of our survey participants had previously heard of telehealth. A further 82% of people were recently offered a telehealth option by a health professional.
Of those who had experienced telehealth, 3 in 4 people consulted with their health professional over the phone, while 1 in 4 consulted via video.
When asked to provide feedback on their telehealth experience, 42% of people rated it as ‘Excellent’. A further 30% of people rated the experience as ‘Good’.
Above: We asked our Friends what they thought of their recent telehealth experience.
Most people felt that telehealth was a convenient alternative to a face-to-face consultation. One person said, “It was the most thorough consult I’ve ever had.”
Some other key comments included:
- “I feel the benefits of telehealth: convenience and comfort. I will choose it every time!”
- “Saved a lot of time [and] money … all consultations were bulk billed.”
- “This service is fine for everything except when you actually need a doctor to examine you … it certainly worked well for me when in lockdown.”
- “I live life with disabilities. Telehealth allows me greater choice in my health journey [and] how I can assess health and wellbeing services.”
Some survey respondents still prefer face-to-face consultations due to communication issues over the phone and a need for human connection. We remain concerned about the experience for those who described it as ‘Terrible’ or ‘Poor’ and will seek to better understand this. Overall, it seems the pros outweigh the cons for most people, as demonstrated in the word cloud below:
Above: We asked our Friends how telehealth compares with face-to-face consultations. In this word cloud – the bigger the word, the more people used it to describe their experience.
The top three benefits of telehealth our survey respondents identified were:
- Reduced need to travel (28% of respondents)
- Time saving (23% of respondents)
- More convenient (21% of respondents)
When asked about the barriers of telehealth, 37% of people did not identify any barriers. A further 14% of people said that unreliable internet access can be an issue for them; particularly in rural areas.
Finally, survey respondents had some interesting and insightful suggestions for improving the telehealth experience. One person said, “Ensure it's equitable and accessible across all geographies (i.e. not only to people in metropolitan areas).”
Some other great suggestions included:
- “If GPs and other health professionals are going to recommend [it] to everyone then have some simple education around telehealth for seniors or others who haven’t used it.”
- “I would like to see medical practices offer a variety of telehealth options; and be able to offer a virtual platform [with] a lip-reading option and closed captions.”
- “As a minimum it should require a video component – rather than just telephone. It should be an option – not mandatory.”
- “I don't want to install any app or create accounts. I want to connect to [an] online clinic area and start the video consultation in a click.”
Thank you for sharing your views on telehealth! We appreciate your feedback.
We encourage you to sign up for Friends of COORDINARE: an opportunity for you to take part in further surveys, consultations, groups, and more. Some of these opportunities will be paid, others will be voluntary. Help us make a difference in improving local health services!
Please note: COORDINARE is not a clinical health service and cannot advise individuals about their health care. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any questions or concerns you may have about a particular medical condition.