Saturday, January 28

70% of Spaniards have resorted to telemedicine

Pedro Díaz Yuste, CEO of Savia. / CR

A report by Savia, Mapfre’s digital health platform, highlights that users are young women, urbanites and university students

AP Madrid

Telemedicine has taken a giant leap due to the pandemic. The number of people who consult online to find out their symptoms, obtain electronic prescriptions and obtain a doctor’s opinion through digital services has grown exponentially. Savia, Mapfre’s digital health service, has carried out a survey from which it is concluded that the users of these platforms are preferably women and urbanites.

According to the report, the user profile of these services is markedly female. 58% are women and 60% are under 35 years old, almost always with a university education.

In addition, three out of four Spaniards anticipate that they will use these tools in the next year, according to the study, whose objective is to obtain an overview of the use of online medicine in Spain.

The report ‘Digital Health Sap X-Ray’ underlines that 71% of users already manage medical consultations or obtain information about health and matters related to well-being online. In this sense, 54% of those surveyed already manage their medical consultations telematically.

As for the most demanded digital health services, the digital prescription stands out, with 38%. Followed by monitoring through electronic devices (26%), such as smart watches; medical chat (16%); the video consultation (13%); and the symptom evaluator (9%).

Although the relaxation of the restrictions caused by the covid decreases the use of certain services, such as video consultations, others increase, such as the purchase of medical consultations and tests. Young people stand out as the most open profile in order to acquire these services, especially those related to health monitoring.

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Regarding the preferred channels for information, 43% of those surveyed indicate health and healthy life applications as their main source, followed by the specialized press (42%), specialized forums (35%) and, finally, the general media (30%).

Social networks are another of the main channels for Internet users to find out, which is why 80% of users are willing to receive information about health and well-being on these platforms. This figure increases to almost 90% when asking respondents between the ages of 18 and 34. Likewise, 50% of Spaniards would be willing to receive health and well-being information through ‘influencers’, a practice that is becoming more and more established in social networks.

Users place special interest in digital health platforms having consultations with specialist doctors and being able to opt for second medical opinions. Therefore, giving weight to these aspects may be key to promoting the growth of telemedicine in Spain. On the other hand, the agility in terms of access to results and medical history, as well as the ease of requesting tests, are other services that users demand the most.

Regarding the benefits perceived by users of digital health services, it is observed that 85% of those surveyed see convenience as the main reason for using telemedicine tools. The saving of waiting times, the management of procedures, as well as avoiding travel to health centers and the speed of response are the main advantages. Personalized attention and a comprehensive medical chart also stand out as one of the perceived benefits of digital health by 55%.

In addition, 24% of the people consulted miss not being able to be attended directly by specialists as one of the main factors that make digital health platforms less attractive. The lack of personalized treatment and follow-up by the same professional are other drawbacks mentioned.

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