The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth for women. Virtual platforms look potent to overtake traditional healthcare. According to a Rock Health study, telehealth start-ups raised $14.7 billion in the first half of 2021. Out of this, $1.3 billion went to start-ups focused on women’s health telemedicine and telehealth. Stakeholders applaud these developments as a welcome step to make healthcare more inclusive and easier for women. Reports of an increase in telehealth utilization show that convenience is the key motivator for telehealth adoption for diagnosis, monitoring, or treatment.
Women’s Telehealth Experience During COVID-19
Telehealth for women became a safe option during the pandemic, with a reported 24% of women using telemedicine once compared to men, with 19%. Telehealth garnered a positive response from women as 62% of them rated it as comparable to in-person care, and 25.9% considered it better. Almost 70% rated their mental health experience as “very good.”
Injuries and minor illnesses accounted for 21% of women’s online appointments. Chronic health problems had an 18% share, while 17% sought telemedicine for behavioral health. Less than 10% of women used it for COVID-19 treatment.
Tilting The Scale
Several factors influenced women’s preference for telehealth utilization. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report highlighted that 23% of women favored telemedicine to avoid missing work for an appointment. Many women reported finding in-person appointments embarrassing, primarily when consulting for mental health, menopause, fertility, or birth-control prescriptions. In a JAMA study reported by Telehealth.org, women were more likely to complete telemedicine visits and less likely to use video for their visits, preferring the telephone, especially for specialty care visits. See Telehealth.org‘s previous article JAMA Study: Women’s Telehealth Preferences, for more information.
Women comprised 64% of all who sought healthcare through virtual care provider Teladoc in the first three months of 2021, and most users belong to the 25-44 age group. On MDLive, a telehealth company, women were more than half of the total visitors, and those women in the 25-45 age group dominated 70% of its wellness screening programs. These findings suggest that women’s telehealth for mental and physical wellbeing is here to stay.
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