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Study: Patients optimistic about telehealth video appointments

The majority of patients are optimistic about meeting with their healthcare provider via a video appointment, according to a recent study.

The study, published online in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, surveyed 263 patients who could supply hardware and Internet connectivity to meet with a healthcare provider at home through a video call. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they "very likely" would meet with their provider via video; 28 percent said they would be "somewhat likely" to do so, and 33.8 percent were "not at all likely" to meet with their provider that way.

However, a majority of participants (86 percent) who had never participated in a video call said they preferred to speak with the provider face-to-face. For those that had experience a call before, 64 percent said they still wanted in-person interaction. Age, distance from a primary-care provider and comfort with technology also were factors in who would participate in a video appointment.

There continue to be hurdles to using telehealth care as part of mainstream practice, the study's authors from the Mayo Clinic conclude, which include the costs--75 percent of survey respondents would not participate if insurance did not cover the appointment--and patient comfort with the technology and security of the system.

These types of video appointments may only grow in scope as telemedicine becomes more mainstream.

The Federation of State Medical Boards just last week announced thecompletion of the drafting process for an interstate compact for physician licensure. Currently, doctors must apply for a license for each individual state in which they want to practice, a hindrance to those who use telemedicine, according to some.

But some still question the use of the technology in healthcare, in part because of the impact it could have on the doctor-patient relationship.

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Doctor using a tablet for telehealth appointment