Majority of Adults Prefer In-Person Over Telehealth Visits

U.S. adults are generally willing to use video visits but prefer in-person care for a nonemergency health issue, according to a study published online Dec. 1 in JAMA Network Open.

Zachary S. Predmore, Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 2,080 adults (March 8 to 19, 2021) to assess patient preferences for video visits after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and to identify patient perceptions of the value of video visits.

The researchers found that two-thirds of participants (66.5 percent) preferred at least some video visits in the future, but given a choice, more than half of respondents (53 percent) preferred an in-person visit. Among those preferring an in-person visit when out-of-pocket costs were not a factor, nearly half (49.8 percent) still preferred in-person care and 23.5 percent switched to a video visit when confronted with the higher relative costs for in-person care. Among individuals who initially preferred a video visit, only 18.9 percent still preferred a video visit if it cost more and 61.7 percent switched to an in-person visit when confronted with higher relative costs for video visits.

“Awareness of patient preferences will help to identify telehealth’s role in postpandemic health care delivery,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text