Published by Kathleen O’Brien on NJ.com.
Although most New Jersey residents have never received medical care via their cellphones or computers, they would be comfortable getting their care that way – especially if that meant longer visits, shorter wait times, or lower cost, according to a new poll.
Nearly four out of five poll respondents said they’d be willing to communicate with their doctors remotely for initial medical consultations and prescription refills. That number dropped substantially for other types of services, particularly for urgent health needs.
And respondents were almost evenly split over whether they’d feel comfortable providing personal medical information via a cellphone or computer, with 53 percent willing to try that versus 46 percent expressing discomfort.
The poll was conducted by the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University in partnership with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.
The poll, which got responses from a weighted sample of 772 state residents, comes at a time when the industry, as well as lawmakers, need to figure out how to incorporate telemedicine while safeguarding patient privacy and providing a payment structure for providers.
“Telehealth holds great promise to increase access to care and to supplement in-person medical care,” said Linda Schwimmer, President of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. “We asked these questions so we could better understand the comfort level New Jersey residents have with using telehealth. We looked at how people feel about using this technology in different situations, and also how responses vary among different sectors of the population.”
Poll results show that in general, the younger the patient, the more he or she would be willing to receive medical treatment or advice via an electronic gadget. They were particularly interested if they could save money getting their care that way, or if it meant their wait times would be less.
However, even among seniors, nearly half were willing to consider telemedicine in certain scenarios.