39% of Allergy Patients Comfortable with Virtual Physician Consultation

Nearly eight in ten Americans (78%) would consider seeing a healthcare professional virtually for at least one healthcare need, though not all needs seem to transition equally to this method. Harris Interactive reports nearly half (47%) would see a healthcare professional virtually to discuss the effectiveness of regularly used prescriptions, while roughly four in ten each would do so to diagnose cold or flu-​like symptoms (43%) or for a consultation regarding allergies (39%).

Moving down the list of options, just over a third would consider opting to have a general wellness visit, regular checkup or preventative services (36%) or a regular checkup regarding regularly monitored biometrics (35%) virtually. Meanwhile just under a third would consider doing so to diagnose a rash (32%) or for one-​time screening or lab services, such as blood sugar testing (30%). Roughly a fourth would consider this avenue for a regular checkup regarding a chronic condition (27%), to discuss a more urgent need regarding a chronic condition (26%), or to discuss treatment options of a sensitive nature (24%).

Americans are least likely to consider this a viable alternative for discussing treatment options for a life-​threatening condition (18%), or for psychological or psychiatric consultations (with 22% saying they'd consider doing either a one-​time or regular session virtually).

Age before beauty?

There tends to be an expectation that technological adoption rates are generally stronger among younger Americans than among their elders. This does ring true for many healthcare needs, with matures less likely than any other generation to say they'd consider either discussing treatment options of a sensitive nature (27% Millennials, 25% Gen Xers, 24% Baby Boomers and 12% Matures) or receiving psychological or psychiatric aid, whether in the form of a regular session (29%, 23%, 19% and 10%, respectively) or a one-​time consultation (29%, 21%, 21% and 8%, respectively).

However, the inverse is true for some services as well. Matures (57%) and Baby Boomers (52%) are more likely than Gen Xers (44%) or Millennials (42%) to say they'd consider discussing the effectiveness of regularly used prescriptions virtually, along with being more likely than Millennials to consider this option for one-​time screening or lab services, such as blood sugar testing (34% each Matures and Baby Boomers vs. 25% Millennials).

Not with just any doctor — and not for just any patient

Seven in ten Americans (70%) would be comfortable with a virtual checkup if it was with their own doctor or healthcare professional, while only about half as many (36%) would be comfortable having a virtual checkup with a doctor or healthcare professional they have not met in person. Meanwhile, only three in ten Americans (31%) could consider letting their child see a healthcare professional virtually; this increases to just over four in ten (42%) among those who currently live in households with children.

  • Younger Americans appear more comfortable with both virtual consultations with a doctor or healthcare professional they've not met in person (42% Millennials, 40% Gen Xers, 31% Baby Boomers, 21% Matures) and letting their child see a healthcare provider virtually (37%, 36%, 28% and 17%, respectively).

Benefits and concerns

Nearly three-​fourths of Americans (73%) believe that virtually monitoring or checking up on chronic conditions could help reduce hospital readmission rates; however, nearly two-​thirds (65%) indicate that they'd have less faith in a diagnosis from a virtual consultation than an in-​person one.

  • Diagnosis concerns are strongest among Matures, who are more likely than any other generation to say they'd have reduced faith in a virtual diagnosis (77% Matures vs. 63% each for Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials).

Specialists who are targeting allergy patients should know this audience is younger than average. About 70% of these folks are under age 45 according to AudienceSCAN data. Their youth may make them especially flexible about accepting a virtual consultation.  About 47% of likely allergy patients expect to buy a new smartphone or upgrade their current handset in the next year. This detail reveals the tech-​savvy nature of these prospective patients. Allergists and other marketers may want to reach these consumers with Internet banner ads. In the past 30 days, nearly 47% of these audience members took action after they saw an ad of this type.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.