Telehealth usage across the U.S. soared during the COVID-19 pandemic as many opted to stay home to protect oneself and limit the spread of the virus. At the same time, the country also saw an increase in mental health conditions; researchers from Boston College found that reports of anxiety and depression were six times higher in November 2020 than 2019. With the growing interest and usage of teletherapy, especially for mental/behavioral health, it is crucial to understand the behaviors and attitudes of teletherapy users. In Corporate Insight’s upcoming webinar, we will dive into our recent teletherapy survey revealing best practices, the behaviors and sentiments of patients who engage in virtual sessions for mental/behavioral health care, and the digital experiences of various platforms.

Corporate Insight’s analysis of teletherapy services for mental/behavioral health care

In June 2022, CI published a Teletherapy report (Health Systems Monitor subscription required) that evaluated the mental/behavioral health teletherapy journey patients across the U.S. experienced. The study consists of two research methods:

  • Quantitative survey – We surveyed around 1,100 patients in the U.S. who were at least 18 years old and engaged in mental/behavioral therapy sessions in the past six months.
  • Qualitative user interviews – We conducted 45-to-60-minute interviews with 10 participants who have attended either teletherapy only or both teletherapy and in-person sessions for mental/behavioral health.

For both parts of the study, we aimed to understand patients’ motivations, platform usage, relationship with their therapist, appointment scheduling, communications and overall satisfaction. The results of this study highlight the convenience of teletherapy, positive experiences patients have and its increase in popularity across generations. The results also confirm findings from our consumer survey, in which we found that most participants (76%) reported being very or extremely satisfied with their most recent telehealth visit. Health insurers and health systems should recognize these positive sentiments and continue to offer and enhance such services.

Patients generally prefer to use desktops to attend sessions, although generational differences exist between desktop and mobile

Among survey respondents who have used both desktop and mobile devices to engage in teletherapy, the majority (64%) prefer desktops. Interviewees expressed similar preferences, mentioning that the larger screen of a desktop allows them to have a clear display of nonverbal cues, which helps mimic the in-person experience. Another popular sentiment was the physical convenience of not having to hold a device for a long period of time and being able to gesticulate.

However, it is important to note that interviewees did find cellphones helpful when seeking privacy—such as discussing a person they live with and attending sessions while traveling or working—or wanting to walk around and chat. Interestingly, among survey respondents, older generations were more likely to use mobile only, while younger generations were more likely to use both desktops and mobile.

This chart shows the preferred telehealth platform for different generations

Learn more about the ideal teletherapy experience for patients

Noting the preferences for desktop or mobile is only one of the important aspects of the teletherapy experience for patients. Other critical components include format, communication and appointment scheduling. To hear more about our teletherapy survey and research as well as how to implement best practices to create an impactful teletherapy experience, sign up for our upcoming webinar on September 28 at 2pm EDT.