Australians want ongoing GP video telehealth services


Friday, 30 April, 2021

Australians want ongoing GP video telehealth services

New research finds that 70% of Australians think GPs should offer video telehealth services permanently, with 44% saying they would switch GPs to one that offers the service.

Conducted by Pureprofile in partnership with Coviu, the research surveyed 1000 Australians nationwide to understand people’s satisfaction with current access to GPs and how the experience can be improved. With the use of telehealth becoming normalised as a result of COVID-19, Australians responded positively to the possibility of having ongoing telehealth options available to them.

“As a result of the pandemic, the potential of video telehealth was truly realised when it became essential for people to see their doctors safely. One silver lining of COVID-19 is how Australians have adopted telehealth as they experienced the many benefits first-hand,” Melbourne-based GP Dr Andrew Baird said. “This research reiterates how Australians are eager for their GPs to be more accessible by offering video telehealth as a standard option.”

Key research findings:

  • 44% of Australians would switch GPs to one that offers video telehealth. This increases to 63% among adults aged 34–44 and 50% among those aged 18–34 years.
  • 90% want telehealth to be billed at the same rate as in-person GP visits.
  • 87% of patients who used video telehealth found the experience comparable to or better than an in-person consult.
  • 90% of respondents stated that video telehealth helps save time and 67% said it makes health care more accessible.
  • Consumer confidence in using video telehealth for GP appointments was high, even among an older demographic, with 67% of patients aged 55+ saying they were confident in using the technology, compared to 74% aged 18–34 and 78% aged 34–54.
     

Video telehealth can remove numerous barriers for individuals trying to access health care as it allows visual engagement between doctors and patients without requiring the patient to travel to the doctor’s office. Of respondents who had cancelled or missed an in-person appointment, 54% said it was due to work or social commitments and time restraints.

“We’ve seen massive growth of the use of video telehealth technology in the last 12 months, especially during lockdowns, and there is clearly a demand for these services to be standardised,” Coviu CEO and co-founder Dr Silvia Pfeiffer said.

“For far too many people, their ability to seek GP care is limited because of travel, not being well or physically able to leave their home, time-poor or having to look after dependents. Video telehealth alleviates these barriers.

“The technology is available, Aussies are comfortable with it and this research shows the demand is there, so GPs should really consider offering video telehealth to their patients or risk losing them to GPs that do.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/agenturfotografin

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