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Today in Healthcare: New Telemedicine App Rankings, Apple Targets Mental Health, Patients Want More Cost Info

Today in healthcare: Half of U.S patients are in the dark about the cost of healthcare. Plus, why telemedicine will remain a viable healthcare alternative, and Apple is exploring ways to use its devices to detect and diagnose mental health conditions.

Apple Takes Bigger Bite Into Healthcare Tracking, Renewing Debate on Data Privacy

Apple Inc. is looking into ways to use its devices to detect and diagnose mental health conditions, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday (Sept. 21), part of a wider strategy to collect consumers’ health data and use it in new product development.

In PYMNTS’ August Generation HealthTech Report, done in collaboration with Rectangle Health, researchers found that 76% of respondents are “very” or “extremely” interested in using digital tools and methods to monitor health status, as well as to help manage healthcare payments, but it’s unclear whether they want the information stored on private-sector servers and analyzed for commercial gain.

New Report: Half of US Patients in the Dark About Healthcare Payment Options

Only 30% of consumers can get a cost estimate for healthcare services before making a medical appointment, according to PYMNTS research, and with 64% of patients paying some out-of-pocket costs for healthcare or prescriptions, this lack of transparency in payments is troubling for consumers.

In “The Payment Cure: Healthcare Billing Experiences and Patient Loyalty,” a PYMNTS and CareCredit collaboration, a survey of 3,546 American adults who received healthcare services during the past year shows that consumers see their ability to assess, manage and afford out-of-pocket medical bills as an important reason to avoid medical care or abandon a healthcare provider.

Telemedicine App Ranking Welcomes New Names and Tied Scores

PYMNTS’ latest Provider Ranking of Telemedicine Apps shows some rising and falling in downloads and usage since the last cycle, as folks figure out which doctor-in-a-phone app best fits their pandemic-era lifestyles.

PYMNTS recently reported that “telemedicine users and appointments increased exponentially last year, when there was often no alternative, from an average of 529,000 visits per month to more than 12 million at its peak.” Telemedicine visits have fallen some since their pandemic apex, but it has definitely become an established alternative to in-person visits for many patients.

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