BCBS report finds consumers still prefer in-person healthcare interactions to digital services: 4 notes

Though patients are interested in and, in many cases, willing to pay extra for digital and virtual health services, they continue to place more value on meaningful in-person interactions with their care teams, according to a new report.

Here are four takeaways from the report, a survey of more than 1,500 Americans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and the Los Angeles, Calif.-based USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.

1. More than half of respondents said they would be likely to have a virtual visit with a healthcare provider for immediate answers to urgent health-related issues. Additionally, nearly 70 percent said they would be likely to use an app or online system to receive reminders for appointments, screenings, refills and other healthcare needs.

2. Forty-five percent of respondents were willing to pay extra to access those digital services. Of that group, the average amount they would be willing to pay per month was $57; that amount dropped to $25 across all respondents.

3. Despite this interest in digital interventions, however, when asked about their priorities in healthcare interactions, the respondents overwhelmingly ranked more traditional aspects, such as high-quality interactions with their physicians, much higher than access to online and virtual services.

4. These findings demonstrate the importance of asking consumers about their preferences, rather than forging blindly ahead with the most advanced technology, Dana Goldman, PhD, director of the USC Schaeffer Center, said in a news release. "People will say they are interested in many features, but in the real world they must make tradeoffs with valuable premium dollars to meet their priorities," Dr. Goldman explained.

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