Poll: Most Americans plan to use telehealth after the pandemic

Poll: Most Americans plan to use telehealth after the pandemic

As many people sought out virtual visits for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic, most plan to continue to use them in the future. Roughly 65% of people plan to continue to use telehealth after the pandemic ends, according to a survey recently conducted by The Harris Poll.
In general, people over age 65 were more likely to favor in-person visits over telehealth, according to the survey of 2028 adults conducted between December 18 and 20.
Early in the pandemic, telehealth visits soared as in-person visits were restricted to conserve resources. But many returned to in-person care over the summer, though telehealth use was still up significantly from before the pandemic.
Roughly 83% of all survey respondents said they had ever used telehealth. The majority across all age groups said they were comfortable with virtual visits, especially those that had already used telehealth. But a majority of respondents also indicated that they still wanted to keep in-person appointments with their primary care physician.
If given the option between a telehealth visit or an in-person visit, relatively few respondents (15%) said they would opt for telehealth services alone. Most people (44%) still preferred in-person visits, but nearly as many (42%) would choose a combination of in-person and virtual care.
Notably, half of people ages 35-49 said they’d prefer a combination of both, while 66% of people ages 65 and up said they’d choose in-person visits.
The survey also revealed differences in how people would want to use telehealth. Most people wanted to use it to ask medical questions, including 62% of people over age 65. Other popular uses were for reviewing lab results and getting prescription refills.
But fewer people said they would use virtual visits for regular checkups, therapy or when their child is sick. And roughly a third said they would want to use telehealth when they were sick.
Despite 76% of people saying they would miss in-person visits with if their primary care physician moved mostly to telehealth, half of respondents under age 50 said they would consider replacing primary care with doctors on demand via telehealth. And even 35% of the general population said they would consider this if they could access most of their regular appointments via telehealth.
Photo credit: elenabs, Getty Images

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