For those who use telehealth services, the results are quite good, a survey by J.D. Power shows. The satisfaction rate is about 85% — 851 on a 1,000-point scale — while almost half (46%) of all who participated in the survey gave telehealth services a score above 900.

The survey included almost 8,300 consumers. In addition to their being happy with the service, they reported that it usually addressed their clinical issues; almost 85% of telehealth users said they resolved their medical problems as a result of their remote teleconsultation. Seventy-three percent said they experienced no issues at all during their visit.

Health consultations typically went quickly, with an average of 17 minutes to complete enrollment into a telehealth program, nine minutes to wait for a provider (physician or nurse practitioner), and only 18 minutes for the actual consultation.

The biggest hurdle for telehealth is a lack of awareness by consumers. Among consumers who have not used telemedicine, 29% told J.D. Power the service isn't available to them, and 37% say they do not know whether their provider even offers it.

According to the survey, 65% of those who used telehealth services did so because they received a positive recommendation from others, including friends, family members, their employer or doctor.

Common barriers to telehealth adoption include technological maturity by practices and convincing leadership that telemedicine is a substantial investment; compelling providers that telemedicine is an effective way to treat patients; getting staff to accept the idea and learning strategies; and teaching patients the technological skills required to access telemedicine. Technology barriers and lack of computer literacy prevailed as significant issues in successfully implementing telemedicine, the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare suggests.

There are other limitations. According to Stat News, “traditional Medicare limits telehealth to services provided using real-time, interactive audio and video telecommunications systems. That means no store and forward technologies, such as prerecorded audio or video, email, or text messaging. Traditional Medicare also restricts the use of telehealth to rural settings, and may originate only from providers’ offices and other facilities like rural health clinics or hospitals.”

"We are looking at telehealth services [as] similar to mobile banking and its early adoption rates," said Greg Truex, J.D. Power's managing director of health intelligence, in a statement. "Early attempts at trying to convince consumers to bank via their phone failed, and initiatives were abruptly canceled."

But then it caught on. Many hope the same is the case for telehealth.

Those companies providing telehealth services include Teladoc, which had the highest rating with 870 points, followed by Doctor on Demand with a score of 867. MDLive received a score of 847, and MeMD and American Well received scores of 843 and 820, respectively.

Among insurers, Humana was the highest-ranked, followed by Kaiser Permanente and Cigna. Anthem and Aetna had scored 850 and 840, respectively.