Most patients still prefer in-person visits over telehealth, study shows

Most Americans view telehealth as playing a role in the future of medical care. However, the majority still prefer an in-person visit over a virtual one, according to a study published Dec. 1 in JAMA Network Open.

The research team surveyed 2,080 adults between March 8 and March 19. Here are four key findings:

  1. The study found patients who preferred virtual visits were more sensitive to out-of-pocket cost than patients who preferred in-person visits.

  2. When out-of-pocket cost was not a factor, 53 percent of respondents preferred an in-person visit, 20.9 percent preferred a video visit and 26.2 percent did not have a preference.

  3. Forty-five percent of respondents reported having attended one or more virtual visits since March 2020. Just 2.3 percent of this group said they would be unwilling to use telehealth again.

  4. Among respondents who have attended a virtual visit since March 2020, 31.4 percent preferred a video visit to an in-person visit. Among respondents with no previous virtual visits, just 12.2 percent preferred a video visit. 

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