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Virtual Care Changes Consumer Expectations: Two-thirds of Likely Wearables Buyers Would Pay More for Health Features

Telehealth and telemedicine solutions have been thrust to the forefront of health care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to avoid exposure to the virus has challenged well-established consumer preferences for in-person visits over remote care. Radical shifts in the regulatory and reimbursement landscape have paved the way for rapid telehealth deployments, including the use of health devices. Parks Associates' latest consumer study of 5,000 broadband households provides trending data on consumer familiarity, use, and demand for telehealth services and connected health devices. It evaluates user experience with telehealth services and investigates consumer appetite for virtual care as a standard offering, outside of crisis conditions.

Our latest data shows consumers wanting to share health device data with providers.Connected health device adoption jumped dramatically year over year from 42% in 2020 to 55% in 2021. Adoption of smart watches, smart thermometers, connected pulse oximeters and blood pressure cuffs all grew substantially.

Current telehealth consultations for urgent and primary care visits typically lack any real-time vital sign data, limiting the depth of insight and the potentially treatable conditions via virtual modalities.

Though it’s rare now, integrating health device data with remote care services is on the horizon. RPM and hospital-at-home programs are leading the way by provisioning devices, but there is an opportunity to provide similar integrations for primary and urgent care telehealth visits as well.

Overall, wearables intenders are most likely to pay more for medical-grade vital sign detection, particularly blood pressure, arrhythmia, and blood oxygen levels. There is also high interest in fall detection features. "Likely buyers" that are younger are more likely than those in other age groups to be willing to pay more for health-related features, even for fall detection. That said, fall detection is the #1 feature for consumers ages 65 and older. Overall, two-thirds of likely wearables buyers would pay more for health features. 



As the market rapidly adapts and scales to meet urgent demand from providers and health systems, it is critical that companies across the virtual care ecosystem understand how the consumer has experienced these changes. Their experience with virtual care now changes future expectations of healthcare delivery, and points to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.


More info: Parks Associates consumer research - Virtual Care: Connected Health Devices and Services

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