There's a generational gap in satisfaction with telehealth, J.D. Power finds

Telehealth continues to enjoy elevated popularity thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but significant generational gaps persist in satisfaction, according to a new analysis from J.D. Power.

The report found that patient satisfaction with telehealth lands at a 698 score on a 1,000-point scale. Millennials and Generation Zers reported the highest satisfaction scores, while baby boomers and members of the Silent Generation had the lowest satisfaction.

Overall trust is a concern to watch, according to the report, as that produced the lowest scores. However, telehealth received higher marks for satisfaction with the clinicians patients interact with and for patients feeling their needs are met during a visit.

“Telehealth is here to stay,” said Christopher Lis, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power, in a press release. “As overall utilization volumes normalized following the pandemic, we continue to see a clear trend toward telehealth adoption for routine care and ongoing mental health visits."

"Moreover, overall satisfaction is associated with telehealth mobile app utilization compared with other channels," Lis added. "At the same time, we are seeing some significant barriers to adoption in some populations, particularly among older patients and underserved populations who are struggling with digital channels and having challenges with access and ease of use.”

Among direct-to-consumer brands, CVS Health earned the highest satisfaction scores, followed by Evernorth's MDLive and then Amwell in third.

UnitedHealthcare earned top marks for payer-provided telehealth services for the second time in three years, according to the report. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was next-highest, with Humana landing in third place.

The study found that ease of access is the primary reason people use telehealth rather than visit a doctor in-person. Twenty-eight percent of patients said they choose telehealth visits for convenience, and 17% said it was for the ability to receive care quickly.

With that knowledge, the J.D. Power analysts said it's critical for providers to make it simple for people seek out telehealth. Satisfaction rises by 172 when consumers say telehealth is "very easy to use" compared to when it is "not very easy to easy to use."