According to a new national survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by Healthinsurance.com, more people now feel telemedicine is as good as an in-person medical visit. And the shift—driven by increased familiarity and use of telemedicine—is nothing short of dramatic when compared to the start of the pandemic.
In a March 2020 telemedicine survey, Healthinsurance.com found that while 61.4% of people were familiar with telemedicine and open to using it, only 8.5% had used telemedicine during the pandemic. One year later, Healthinsurance.com surveyed people again and found:
- 77% of people were familiar with telemedicine (a 26% increase)
- 47% of people reported using telemedicine during the pandemic (a whopping 422% increase in one year)
- 40% of people felt telemedicine visits are as good as in-person medical visits (a 5% increase)
Though Healthinsurance.com did not specifically ask people about veterinary telemedicine, it’s not unreasonable to suggest Healthinsurance.com’s findings speak to similar awareness and usage of veterinary telemedicine, given three factors:
- Before the pandemic, 67% of American households already owned pets. After the pandemic hit, more people adopted pets during the pandemic pet boom.
- Despite lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, all those pet owners still needed to consult with veterinarians.
- To handle the tidal wave of appointment requests, veterinary practices quickly pivoted and adopted veterinary telemedicine systems to a degree that the profession had never before seen.
People Do Not Have the Same Confidence in Life Returning to Normal After COVID
Healthinsurance.com found that over half of people surveyed are apprehensive about life returning to the way it was.
At the start of the pandemic, people wanted to know how soon life could return to normal and how soon a vaccine would appear to help speed it along. Healthinsurance.com found in 2020:
- 78% were open to getting a vaccine.
- 45% believed there was a cure for COVID-19.
- 64% believed vaccines should be required.
Healthinsurance.com’s findings about vaccine hesitancy reflect the larger fears of people about life in a post-pandemic world.
After months of frightening stories about COVID-19 variants and headlines informing people “Why the coronavirus may never go away,” Healthinsurance.com’s 2021 survey unsurprisingly found that 62% of people have apprehensions about life returning to normal, and 41% said they will not feel comfortable indoors without a mask—even if someone is vaccinated.
The juxtaposition of post-pandemic fears and telemedicine confidence serves to underscore what many veterinarians have been saying since 2020, and what we also wrote about in a previous blog:
Telemedicine Is Here to Stay
Saying the same thing in a March 22nd, 2021 article called “Here to stay: Why telemedicine is integral to the future of veterinary medicine,” dvm360 cited telehealth expert and DVM Aaron Smiley, who said during a recent Fetch dvm360 virtual conference, “Increased public awareness and use of telemedicine is allowing us to monetize the professional service that we have offered for so long.”
Initially fearing clients would object to telemedicine when he switched from a free to a paid telemedicine service, Dr. Smiley found the opposite reaction, saying, “[Clients] love the service and are more than willing to pay for it.”
This particularly applies to millennials, the primary pet-owner demographic. In a recent video interview with NAVC Editorial Director Patricia Wuest, Mark Cushing, CEO and Founder of Animal Policy Group, said, “If your clients are millennials, they’ve answered every survey in saying, ‘We want telemedicine as a tool’.”
What to Consider Before Converting Your Practice to a Paid Telemedicine Service
To avoid decreasing practice workflow and placing extra stressors on staff, Dr. Smiley recommends a telemedicine system that makes collecting payments easy, which is a core feature of Petriage, the unique, robust, and flexible telehealth solution that enables modern-day veterinary practices to seamlessly integrate virtual care while maintaining the highest standards of patient care.
Petriage’s features include curbside check-in and contactless payment processing (no app required), which frees up phone lines and improves efficiency for practices while strengthening client relationships by giving pet owners a convenient check-in and payment method.
PIMS Integration = The Petriage Difference
Designed to optimize practice operations and efficiencies through PIMS integration for automatic medical record keeping, a patented AI-driven teletriage tool, virtual telemedicine consultations, and automated remote monitoring, Petriage empowers veterinarians to remotely care for patients while strengthening client relationships and compliance.
Prices start at just $49 USD/month ($69 CAD/month).
- No setup fees
- Unlimited staff users
- Unlimited consultations
- Be up and running in as little as one week
Petriage is available in two levels. Schedule time with one of our subject matter experts to determine which one is right for your practice.