More than one-third of privately insured health plan members in the U.S. accessed telehealth services in 2020, up from just 9% a year ago. The increased use of telemedicine and other digital tools and services is correlated with a jump in overall member satisfaction, a study from J.D. Power shows.
The numbers, contained in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study, can’t prove the increase in telehealth, a shift caused by the pandemic, has a causal relationship to improved member satisfaction. But James Beem, managing director for global healthcare intelligence at the data analytics firm, says the study shows “that health plans are becoming more customer-driven and that they came through for member responses” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are only stating that digital contact and telehealth adoption increased since last year,” Beem tells AIS Health, a division of MMIT. “However, greater engagement among health plan members generally ties to an increase in satisfaction. Digital channels — website, app, text — are less utilized than phone, but associated with higher satisfaction regardless of” member age.