Almost 7 in 10 Have Postponed or Canceled Medical Appointments Amid Coronavirus

Almost 7 in 10 Have Postponed or Canceled Medical Appointments Amid Coronavirus
Almost 7 in 10 Have Postponed or Canceled Medical Appointments Amid Coronavirus

Fears of exposure to the coronavirus continue to deter consumers from visiting health care facilities, creating opportunities for telehealth services to flourish.

To get a better understanding of consumers’ perceptions about health screenings amid the COVID-19 crisis, DocASAP, a Herndon, Va.-based company that offers a platform for health care companies and patients, surveyed adults who had used a health care provider in the past 12 months.

Questioning the safety of health care facilities

More than two-thirds of respondents (68%) said they’ve postponed or canceled an in-person health care appointment since the coronavirus pandemic began. Men were more likely to put off a health care visit than women, 73% to 64%.

For many, time doesn’t seem to be allaying their fears. In fact, 43% said they won’t feel safe seeing a health care provider in person until at least the fall.

Throughout the pandemic, consumers have expressed concerns about visiting brick-and-mortar businesses. When asked what types of businesses they felt safest visiting, DocASAP respondents said:

  • Grocery stores: 42%

  • Pharmacies: 37%

  • Hospitals: 32%

  • Doctor’s offices: 26%

  • Work offices: 20%

  • Public transportation: 13%

  • Emergency rooms or urgent care facilities: 12%

Some consumers may have other reasons for putting off health care, as the COVID-19 crisis has also put a spotlight on the confusion consumers have about health insurance and costs, specifically as it relates to the coronavirus.

Telehealth perceived to be a safer alternative

As consumers recognize that they can’t put off health care services forever, many are turning to telehealth, which allows them to meet virtually with a health care practitioner.

In fact, 40% of respondents said they’ve already had a telehealth appointment. Of those who have completed their telehealth appointment, 91% said they’re likely to schedule another one in the future rather than an in-person visit.

When asked what factors would most influence their decision to seek a telehealth visit, the top reason given was COVID-19-related safety concerns, cited by 47% of respondents. That was followed by:

  • 43% who said whether the visit was covered by health insurance

  • 40% who said whether it was easy to access quality care

Consumers also appear to be getting comfortable with the idea of getting some of their pre-appointment needs met virtually, as 42% all respondents said they’d prefer to check their symptoms online whether they had an in-person or telehealth appointment.

Other tasks consumers would prefer to handle online, even if they had an in-person visit, include:

  • Completing intake forms: 32%

  • Finding out the cost of the visit: 32%

  • Providing insurance information: 29%

Methodology: DocASAP commissioned global market research firm OnePoll to survey 1,000 adults who have used a health care provider in the past year between June 29 and June 30, 2020.