27 Oct Who is Using Telehealth and Videoconferencing With Their Doctor?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Shira H. Fischer, MD, PhD
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Before the COVID-19 outbreak, telehealth was talked about a lot, but it wasn’t widely available and wasn’t used that often. We wanted to know who was using telehealth, what the barriers to use were, and whether people would be willing to do so if it were available to them. We conducted a survey of over 2,500 Americans across the country and asked them about these topics.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We found that even though there was a focus on videoconferencing visits in the news and conversations about telehealth, few Americans had ever used it, while other forms of telehealth, such as messaging within a patient portal, email, and text messages, were more dominant (prior to 2020). We also asked about willingness to use videoconferencing. We found that while nearly half of respondents were willing to participate in videoconferencing visits with their doctors, some people were less willing, such as Black and older individuals, as well as individuals with less income. This is concerning because African American individuals, rural residents, and individuals with lower socioeconomic status have been shown to already have decreased access to care.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We conducted another survey of telehealth use after COVID-19 started, in May of this year, and, as you can imagine, the results were very different, with a lot more videoconferencing use. That report will be coming out shortly and we’ll share more details then! We’d also like to better understand the barriers that still exist for those who cannot access this kind of care in order to inform decision-making around policies for telehealth moving forward.
Fischer SH, Ray KN, Mehrotra A, Bloom EL, Uscher-Pines L. Prevalence and Characteristics of Telehealth Utilization in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(10):e2022302. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.22302
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