State of the Industry: telehealth adoption


As organizations look for ways to increase efficiency, we wanted to assess how consumer needs and sentiments adapt and evolve to better understand the implications for specific industries.

With telehealthcare usage skyrocketing since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, UserTesting conducted a follow-up study to a May 2020 HITs to find out what patients think of telehealthcare nearly a year later, and what factors impact their trust in and adoption of telehealth services.

What we learned


Key insights

People are more comfortable than ever with telehealth

Almost all patients in this study reported feeling more comfortable with using telehealthcare than they were nine months ago due to the normalization of digital and remote interactions, the increase in accessibility and in the number of personal experiences, and the expansion of telehealthcare insurance coverage.

“With the world changing dramatically over the last year, [telehealthcare] has become normal and the safer option.” - UK participant, 26 years old


“I would like to see a continuation of video conferencing because it makes it easier for patients who might have trouble expressing themselves or explaining their symptoms.” - US participant, 27 years old

Fears of data breaches remain

While most patients are more comfortable with telehealth overall, most patients were confident that privacy laws protect their information from being shared, without their permission, by healthcare providers; however, the top concern about telehealthcare security centered around the potential for data breaches, and data hackers gaining unauthorized access to personal medical information.

“Privacy and security protocols impact my willingness to use telehealthcare because I would need to know that my information is safeguarded and protected. I would want to trust the app and services being provided especially with my sensitive health information. So, if this was not clear or confirmed, I would not be willing to use this service.” - US participant, 35 years old

Tech issues are expected, and manageable

Some patients also mentioned that persistent connectivity issues over time would make them feel “apprehensive” and less trusting of using telehealthcare channels, however, most patients viewed technical and connectivity issues as minor and surmountable. *Note: People in the study self-reported as being tech-savvy and able to troubleshoot most technical issues.

“I would worry about technicalities such as video freezing or clarity as well as information being lost in translation, language barriers, technical issues, and so forth.” - US participant, 35 years old

Recommendations for telehealthcare providers to make patients more comfortable

  • Reassure patients that their privacy and security are a top priority: Those who are concerned about privacy and security are looking for reassurances that their appointment and personal information will be safe and secure.

  • Reiterate that in-person visits are still available when needed: Patients liked to know that, if the need arises, their provider can escalate a telehealth visit to a physical visit. There was a lot of uncertainty and concern about healthcare professionals being able to properly assess health conditions remotely, with the perceived burden being on the patient to decide if they should use telehealth or physically go to the office for some conditions.

  • Offer pre-appointment checklists and resources: Patients would benefit from a list that would help them decide whether to start with telehealthcare and when to consider in-person care. Many are often uncertain of what which care channel to go through first. 

  • Find ways to illustrate that providers know the patient's history: Patients prefer to work with healthcare professionals who know their medical history, with whom they have a rapport.

  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of remote interactions: Patients preferred when the provider is "personable” and understanding that fostering empathy within remote interactions can be difficult.

  • Make provider credentials clear and easy to find for patients: Patients were reassured when the reputation and credentials of their providers were easily findable.

  • Optimize onboarding and sign-on processes: Easy onboarding will add to the ease and convenience of using telehealthcare, making adoption more likely.

Hear patients talk about their comfort level using telehealth services