Telemedicine and telehealth-related activities are on the rise, according to NTIA’s November 2019 Internet Use Survey, which found that more households are using the Internet to communicate with health professionals, access health records, and research health information.
Because the survey was conducted prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, it provides an important baseline for understanding the prevalence of telehealth usage among American households and the importance of Internet access for essential services.
The proportion of households that accessed health or health insurance records online grew from 30 percent in 2017 to 34 percent in 2019 (see Figure 1). Households communicating with a doctor or other health professional online grew by two percentage points, and households that researched health information online grew by one percentage point between 2017 and 2019.
As someone who lives in the place between research and practice, I can tell you that statistics are always about a year (or more!) behind what I want. But this will be a good base to compare the impact of 2020 and the pandemic when those stats are collecting.
It also makes the point that statistics are not always linear. One disruption – positive or negative – can change the trajectory. Be that a pandemic or someone installing fiber throughout your town.