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Provider use of telehealth has risen exponentially since 2020. According to an Optum survey, only 3% of providers say they don’t use telehealth compared to 65% prior to the pandemic. This surge in telehealth highlights the benefits for patients, but also their pain points.

Top Telehealth Features and Provider Frustrations 

Nine out of ten providers sum up patient experiences with telehealth in one word: convenience. Survey respondents said the most attractive features of telehealth are related to more convenient access to appointments: 

  • Ease of finding appointment availability (52%)
  • Attending the appointment at home (47%)
  • Post-appointment follow-up scheduling (15%)
  • Ability to engage in online scheduling (12%)

However, providers remain dissatisfied with several aspects of the telehealth experience. According to Optum, “one in four providers describe telehealth as frustrating due to the level of care they can provide to patients.” Key frustrations cited in the survey include providing quality care and managing patient expectations: 

  • Quality of care provided (58%)
  • Managing unrealistic patient expectations of what can be accomplished via telehealth appointments (55%)
  • Quality of telehealth audio and video (50%)
  • Attending the appointment at home or in the office (18%)
  • Billing and coding challenges (13%)

Contrary to the improvement in patient health and access to care, providers are evenly split regarding whether telehealth decreases (30%) or increases (30%) burnout. 

Areas for Growth within the Telehealth Experience 

Overall, providers are fairly satisfied with the current telehealth technology (64%). However, providers express the need to enhance the provider-patient telehealth experience. Their top recommended telehealth improvements include: 

  • Enhanced audio and video technology (40%)
  • Ability to integrate telehealth with a healthcare system’s EMR (35%)
  • User-friendly telehealth mobile app for patients across all generations to use (23%)
  • Ability to have three or more people join the virtual visit appointment (15%)

Refining the telehealth experience can reduce provider frustrations while creating a seamless patient access experience for consumers. “Telehealth is a valuable and convenient asset for patients accessing care,” said Puneet Maheshwari, co-founder and CEO of DocASAP at Optum. “Providers and technology vendors need to continue improving on the technology itself as well as the virtual care processes.” 

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