Mothers place a high priority on taking care of their families’ health care needs, and would have an easier time if they had 24/7 access to doctors via telehealth services, according to a recent survey.
All respondents in the “Moms and Health Technology Survey” said it would be helpful to have around-the-clock access to medical advice. The survey was conducted by EmpowHER, an online health community, and released by LiveHealth Online, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s telehealth service.
Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, allows patients to use technology to see doctors — typically, via video chat on a tablet, computer or smartphone — instead of scheduling an in-person appointment. In Connecticut, as of Jan. 1, 2016, health insurance carriers that cover telehealth services were required to cover expenses to the same extent they would for an in-person visit, under a law passed in 2015.
The survey polled more than 500 mothers nationwide and found 71 percent reported they lost more than two hours from their work or school day due to taking a child to a doctor’s appointment.
“Research shows that busy working moms can find it challenging to see a doctor when they need to address a non-emergency health issue,” Dr. Peter Bowers, Anthem’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “We understand the importance about how mobile technology is evolving and providing moms with new tools that help manage, track, and access health information. Now, more than ever, women need access to information and technology that enables them to focus on health and wellness for themselves and their families.”
It’s not only moms who care for sick children, but 82 percent of the mothers surveyed said they are the most “health tech-savvy” in their household. And most — 64 percent — said they find it difficult to take their children to the doctor during office hours during the school year.
A majority of those polled, 79 percent, said they are interested in trying or learning more about telemedicine, and 54 percent said online doctor visits would make them feel more confident that they can tend to their family’s health needs.
Also, 64 percent said they would rather have access to healthcare on demand than have other conveniences, like streaming video or food delivery, and 61 percent believe that health technology can lead to their children being healthier overall.
There’s a growing need for health care to be more convenient, “especially with an anticipated shortage of primary care doctors, crowded ERs and continued rising costs,” LiveHealth Online President John Lesser said in a statement.
“Moms in particular are benefitting from the merger of technology and health and using tools such as LiveHealth Online because it allows them to get better access to doctors, be more efficient with time and keep their families and themselves healthy,” he said.
Among men and women alike, the use of health technology is on the rise, according to the American Telemedicine Association. There are about 200 telehealth networks nationwide with 3,500 service sites, according to the trade group, and more than half of U.S. hospitals use some form of the technology.
In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, the U.S. Veterans Health Administration delivered more than 300,000 remote medical consultations, according to the group. Medicare and Medicaid cover some portions of telehealth services, in some cases, according to the association.