Fitness and nutrition studio is making most of telehealth boom, expanding operations

Since the coronavirus began threatening people’s health and wellness, Jim White has seen a boom in telehealth and fielded more clients than ever before.

In this down and up year, the founder of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios is celebrating its 20th anniversary and opening a new location on First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach.

The expansion — planned pre-COVID — will take care of the growing pains the business had over the last 10 to 15 years and enable White and his team to help more people.

“This gives us the opportunity to streamline our processes and recreate our brands,” White said.

Two of the Virginia Beach studios – Hilltop and Great Neck – will relocate to the new space which White said is geographically in the middle of both. The one in downtown Norfolk will remain and White said he’s looking at other areas of Hampton Roads to invest in.

“When we first started we only had one dietitian and now we’re employing up to eight,” he said. “We realized when they come back – maybe November or December – we needed to have a bigger space.”

In April, White bought the almost 8,000 square foot building for $1.175 million. Approximately half the space will be rented to an eye doctor’s office. That still will leave him with more space than the other two Beach studios had combined.

Located on “medical row,” the new location will enable the business to more easily connect with physicians to help clients through nutrition and fitness.

“It’s going to open up a lot of creativity,” White said of the space that will be outfitted with new equipment.

An accomplished fitness expert and leader in the field, White’s resume touts a lengthy list of credentials, awards and honors, interviews (print, television, web, and radio), and public speaking engagements.

And even during the pandemic, White has remained dedicated to helping clients through the difficult days.

After closing the doors to his facilities for 70 days at the start of the pandemic, he said they were forced to diversify very quickly.

“Our registered dietitians were approved with telehealth so they’ve been working at home since March,” White said. “It’s been really big because a lot of people feel safe in their homes.”

One-on-one and small group virtual trainings were enabled so people could be at home while the trainers were at home or in the studio.

Outdoor training was also incorporated in March, April and May.

In June, when the governor lifted some of the mandates, White said they picked up a record number of clients over the next two months.

The boutique fitness studio attracted more attention than they did before the virus because many people were apprehensive about going to the big box gyms.

“Our nutrition side hasn’t slowed down since we started telehealth, in fact, we’ve had less cancellations,” White said.

White employs 27 people, including certified fitness and nutrition experts that provide tailored personal training programs for individuals

Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Surges During Pandemic but Barriers to Access Persist, J.D. Power Finds

Amwell Ranks Highest among Direct-to-Consumer Brands; Cigna Ranks Highest among Health Plans

Telehealth has emerged as one of the bright spots in the “new normal,” giving patients the ability to meet virtually with healthcare providers from the safety and comfort of home. However, the technology is still experiencing growing pains. According to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study,SM released today, patient satisfaction with telehealth services has been increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but several barriers to access still exist for many patients, including those most at risk.

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J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study (Graphic: Business Wire)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a moment of truth for telehealth, and, by most accounts, the technology is rising to the challenge and delivering a high degree of satisfaction among those who use it,” said James Beem, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power. “However, even though the public awareness with Telehealth is higher due to the influence of COVID-19, the barriers for the consumer to engage with the technology has been a consistent theme in our research.”

Following are some key findings of the 2020 study:

  • Great patient experience: The overall customer satisfaction score for telehealth services is 860 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is among the highest of all healthcare, insurance and financial services industry studies conducted by J.D. Power.

  • Barriers to access persist: Though telehealth has been pitched as a solution to improve access to healthcare for everyone, more than half (52%) of telehealth users say they encountered at least one barrier that made it difficult to use telehealth. The most common hurdles are limited services (24%); confusing technology requirements (17%); and lack of awareness of cost (15%). Additionally, 35% of telehealth users indicate they experienced a problem during a visit. Tech audio issues (26%) are the most common problem.

  • At-risk patients have lower levels of satisfaction: Overall satisfaction is 117 points lower among patients with the lowest self-reported health status than among patients who consider themselves to be in excellent health. Similarly, healthier patients are significantly more likely to understand the information provided during the visit, receive clear explanations, feel their visits are highly personalized and obtain a high-quality diagnosis.

  • Safety becomes a top driver of utilization: Among patients who used a telehealth offering this year, 46% say their top reason for choosing telehealth was safety. That compares with just 13% in 2019.

Study Rankings

Amwell ranks highest in telehealth satisfaction among direct-to-consumer brands, with a score of 885. Doctor on Demand (879) ranks second.

Cigna ranks highest among payers of health plan-provided telehealth services with a score of 874. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan (867) ranks second and UnitedHealthcare (865) ranks third.

The J.D. Power U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study, now in its second year, measures consumer satisfaction with their telehealth service experience based on four factors (in order of importance): customer service (42%); consultation (28%); enrollment (19%); and billing and