Digital Health

Patients and Providers Report Different Telehealth Experiences


Patients are more likely to report a positive telehealth experience than providers, at least according to Zocdoc’s new Healthcare Experience Report that broke down many of the highs and lows of delivering virtual care over the past two years.

Zocdoc analyzed the trends from its appointment booking platform between May 2020 and May 2022, then conducted patient and provider surveys to uncover insights into how care experiences evolved throughout the pandemic. The final report got pretty granular with different specialties and care types, but delivered a few overarching themes worth taking a look at.

If you’re more of a visual learner, Zocdoc also put together an infographic that does a good job summarizing the main findings.

Differing perspectives between patients and providers are common. Just over 30% of patients surveyed indicated it was easier to build a relationship with their provider via telehealth due to less formality and more relatability in the interactions. Only 7% of providers felt the same way.

  • Similar discrepancies were seen with tech difficulties. While 58% of providers indicated they or their patient has had tech issues during an appointment, just 30% of patients said they’d ever experienced a problem.

Mental health is the only specialty where virtual care remains dominant. No surprise here, but it was interesting to see how virtual mental health appointments have continued to overtake in-person visits over the last couple of years.

  • Virtual appointments comprised 74% of mental health bookings in May 2020, 85% in May 2021, and now account for 87% of appointments. Survey respondents cited convenience and the benefits of at-home comforts as reasons they appreciate virtual mental health visits.

Telehealth is a supplement, not a substitute. In May 2020, one-third of all appointments booked via Zocdoc were telehealth visits. By May 2022, that number had declined to 17%, and it dwindled to just 9% if you exclude mental health appointments.

  • Although telehealth is well above its 1% pre-pandemic numbers, 77% of patients reported that they’re still leaning towards a combination of in-person / hybrid care. This is easily seen in the rebooking trends, where over half of virtual visits with a new OB-GYN, eye doctor, or dentist resulted in an in-person follow-up. 

The Takeaway

We’ve seen many of the themes from Zocdoc’s report before, but it’s nice to wrap some numbers around them from an appointment booking perspective as opposed to the usual claim lines or anecdotes. The discrepancies between patient and provider views on telehealth were also good additions that get studied less frequently, as were other hidden gems like the fact that 36% of providers have seen a patient’s pet during a video appointment.

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