A survey conducted in the UK by YouGov on behalf of the Telehealth Forum found an overwhelming majority of participants were not familiar with telehealth or telecare.
The survey revealed that 91 percent of the UK adults in the survey had never heard of either term. Among older users (aged 55 or over), an even higher percentage of users (93 percent) were unfamiliar with telehealth and telecare.
Older users are statistically more likely to be the users of the two types of services since they are most at risk of contrasting a chronic disease. Telehealth is a more intensive form of monitoring of patients in their own homes while telecare uses geofencing to sound an alarm if a user moves outside a specific location.
The survey interviewed more than 2,000 adults in March this year. It found only five percent ot those surveyed knew what telehealth was and only four percent were familiar with telecare.
The UK government last December launched its Three Million Lives campaign to encourage the take-up of such services as an important objective. Hence public perception of telehealth and telecare is crucial to its aim. Some members of the public are sceptical such services are used to justify staff cuts.
However a recent survey by the Nuffield Trust found that patients with chronic diseases monitored via telehealth fared better healthwise than those in hospital, which might indicate preference among patients for this style of treatment.