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27 million broadband households were unable to visit a doctor in 2021, down slightly from 2020

New research highlights consumer usage and demand trends for telehealth services and connected health devices

New research from Parks Associates reveals 27 million US broadband households reported being unable to visit a doctor in 2021, down slightly from 2020. The firm’s Quantified Consumer: Virtual Care: Connected Health Devices and Services evaluates user experiences with telehealth services and investigates consumer appetite for virtual care as a standard offering, outside of crisis conditions.

“The pandemic continues to impact consumers’ lives, limiting socialization, travel, commerce, and access to healthcare,” said Jennifer Kent, VP, Research, Parks Associates. “Patients’ inability to see a doctor due to staffing shortages, overcrowded hospitals, and concerns over the Delta variant of COVID-19 are continuing to drive increased usage of virtual consultations. In the first half of 2021, slightly fewer households reported they were unable to see their doctor, compared to 2020, but still with over 27 million households unable to see their care provider as desired, that creates a huge gap that telehealth services can fill.”

The research reports as of April 2021, 64% of US broadband households used a telehealth service in the prior 12 months. Of these consumers, 34% reported they had to use telehealth services as the only option to see their doctor, which is down slightly from May 2020, when 38% reported these restrictions on visits.The pandemic forced some practices and systems to defer patients due to staffing and facility constraints, while others have required patients to use telehealth services.

Necessity is not the only driver—patients have adopted telehealth for their own reasons, to avoid exposure to COVID-19 and for the convenience telehealth provides. More than one-fourth cite potential exposure to COVID-19 as a driver for using telehealth services. Notably, 28% opted for virtual consultations out of convenience, up from 22% in May 2020. This increase signals that users may be starting to turn to telehealth as a more normalized option for care.

“All healthcare industry players should expect that the recent consumer experience with telehealth has forever advanced what consumers will seek and come to expect out of their healthcare experience,” Kent said. “Providers and systems can be assured that the investments they are making in virtual care solutions now will continue to find a willing patient population post-pandemic.”

Parks Associates will present and analyze its connected health research on December 1, during “Connecting the Dots: Interoperability and Health Data,” the final virtual session for the eighth annual Connected Health Summit: Consumer Engagement and Innovation, featuring a visionary presentation from the US Department of Health and Human Services and panelists from Jewish Senior Living Group, ResMed, and  Seqster. The conference is sponsored by, Essence, and Everise.

For more information on Quantified Consumer: Virtual Care: Connected Health Devices and Services,  contact To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific data, please contact Rosey Ulpino at rosey.ulpino@parksassociates.comor 972-490-1113.

About Parks Associates

Parks Associates, a woman-founded and certified business, is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates provides business intelligence and research services through its proprietary methodologies developed over decades, including quarterly surveys of 10,000 internet households.

The company's expertise crosses many industries: home security and smart home, streaming video, broadband and pay-TV services, digital media and platforms, gaming, Wi-Fi and home networks, connected health, support, consumer electronics, home control systems, energy management, and tech solutions for the multi-dwelling (MDU), small-to-medium business (SMB), and commercial building markets.

Each year, Parks Associates brings thousands of leaders together for its webinars and annual events. The firm hosts the annual executive research and strategy conferences CONNECTIONS™, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit, Smart Spaces, and Future of Video.

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