Survey Finds Virtual Care Adoption Reaches 76% Among Respondents in 2023

A recent survey conducted by Rock Health, titled “The New Era of Consumer Engagement: Insights from Rock Health’s Ninth Annual Consumer Adoption Survey,” has revealed insights into consumers attitudes towards health data-sharing. Focused on 2023, the survey reflects the transformative impact of the pandemic on virtual care adoption and preferences, offering valuable insights into the current state of consumer engagement with digital health tools.  

The survey, which involved over 8,000 U.S. Census-matched adults, revealed the growing role of virtual care in modern healthcare. Results demonstrated a steady increase in digital health adoption over recent years, with virtual care adoption reaching an impressive 76% among respondents in 2023. This trend highlights a maturing virtual care market, where virtual visits via video, phone, text, or app have become commonplace, reflecting a change in consumer expectations regarding healthcare delivery. However, despite the widespread adoption of virtual care, a notable portion of consumers remains hesitant, citing preferences for in-person care (56%) or concerns about quality (18%) and cost (5%). These findings emphasize the importance of maintaining a variety of healthcare offerings to cater to diverse consumer preferences and circumstances, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity across the healthcare continuum.  

The survey also explored consumers’ motivations for choosing virtual care over traditional in-person visits, highlighting convenience (39%), shorter wait times (30%), and access to specific providers (17%) as key drivers. While virtual care excels in certain areas such as prescription refills and mental health services, preferences for virtual care vary across different healthcare needs. For example, while consumers increasingly favor virtual care for prescription refills and mental health services, preferences for other care needs such as minor illness care, chronic condition management, and annual wellness visits have shown a slight decline compared to previous years. The survey also examined consumers’ engagement with at-home diagnostic testing, particularly in the context of COVID-19 testing. While COVID-19 testing has seen widespread adoption due to factors like accessibility, affordability, and rapid results, the demand for other types of at-home tests remains relatively low. Despite high levels of familiarity with at-home testing, consumer interest in diagnostic testing beyond COVID-19 has yet to gain traction, suggesting unique challenges in driving adoption outside of pandemic-related contexts. The survey revealed a growing reluctance among consumers to share their health data with various entities, including clinicians and healthcare organizations. While the majority of respondents are willing to share their healthcare data (90%), there has been a decline in the proportion of individuals willing to share data with specific entities over time. Factors such as age, race, and ethnicity influence data-sharing patterns, highlighting disparities in trust and perceived value among different demographic groups.  

The survey findings highlight the need for digital health innovators to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and priorities. By prioritizing user-centric design, transparency in data use, and trust-building initiatives, healthcare organizations can develop stronger patient-provider relationships and improve the overall consumer experience in virtual care. Understanding and responding to consumer needs will be required in driving innovation and advancing the future of digital health as the healthcare sector continues to evolve.