Just one in ten people have heard of telehealth and less than half of them know what it is, a new survey reveals.

Research commissioned by the National Telehealth Forum shows that the vast majority of people in the UK have no understanding of telehealth or of its ability to support people with long term conditions.

This is despite a national awareness drive spearheaded by the Department of Health and the telehealth industry through the 3millionlives campaign.

The research, conducted by YouGov, surveyed 2,066 UK adults and found that 90% had never heard of telehealth.

Of people surveyed who were aged 55 or over and statistically more likely to have a long term condition, 92% had never heard of telehealth.

One in ten said that they had heard of telehealth, but only 4% said that they knew what it was. Research commissioned by the Forum and conducted by YouGov in 2012 showed that 9% of people had heard of telehealth, and 5% knew what it was.

Simon O’Neill, director of health intelligence at Diabetes UK, said the research indicates there is a long way to go in helping the public understand telehealth and its benefits.

“We know of people who refer to a telehealth service as ‘their guardian angel’ and yet awareness of its benefits is still very low. The Telehealth Forum is determined to correct that,” he said.