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article imageMajority of expats opt for virtual health care services

By Tim Sandle     Aug 6, 2019 in Health
For those electing to living abroad, accessing health services can be challenging, not only in terms of cost but also due to cultural differences and language barriers. A new survey finds 78 percent of expats are now likely to use virtual health services.
Virtual health encompasses several digital and telecommunication technologies used to deliver healthcare. The news about the growing popularity of virtual health services (including telehealth) comes from global health care provider Aetna International, who recently surveyed 2,000 expatriate (expat) employees around the world, to assess how various aspects of international relocation impact their health and well-being most significantly. Given there are 50.5 million expats around the world, understanding factors that impact on their day-to-day lives is socially and economically important.
The poll (titled International Workforce Well-Being Survey 2019) studied work-life balance, pay, the complexities of settling children and the perceived threat of civil unrest, looking into the positive and negative impact that living and working abroad has.
Among the questions, expats were asked whether they are likely or unlikely to use virtual health services (given the growth of digital health and telehealth products). The survey revealed that the majority of expats are starting to use virtual health services, with Singapore standing out in the lead (here 92 percent of expats in are more likely to use virtual health services compared with other countries). This was closely followed by the United Arab Emirates, where 90 percent of expats stated they would use virtual health services.
In terms of demographics, the younger age groups (those between 30-49 years old) are more likely to use virtual health platforms compared with older generations (defined as those aged 50 and over). Another finding was that those with children were also more likely to use virtual health compared with those without.
Commenting on these trends, Richard di Benedetto, President of Aetna International, said in a communication sent to Digital Journal: “Virtual health plays a big role in driving down the cost of health care. People save a lot of time and money, because they don’t need to travel to access health care services. In some locations, you may need to travel quite a way to see your family doctor. But with virtual health care services, this isn’t the case."
The advantages of remote access, di Benedetto states, are immediate contact with a medic and the opportunity to receive an immediate diagnosis. This is seen as especially useful for those in an unfamiliar environment.
More about virtual health, TeleHealth, telemedicine, Expats
 
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