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Poll: Older Americans in Telehealth, But Wary

Posted on Monday, October 14, 2019 12:26 PM

According to a recent poll from them University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging, older Americans are interested in telehealth, but few have any experience with it, and they are wary that it may not offer the same care as an in-person visit.

 A mere 14 percent of respondents said their health care provider offers telehealth, 31 percent said their provider does not offer telehealth, and 55 percent did not know. Only four percent reported having a telehealth visit within the last year.  Only 47 percent of those who have had a telehealth visit preferred it to an in-person visit, 36 percent preferred an in-person visit, and 18 percent regarded them as roughly equal.

Among respondents whose health care provider does not offer telehealth, 48 percent were interested in such services for their primary care physician, 40 percent were interested in using telehealth for a specialist, and 35 percent were interested in using telehealth to access a mental health professional.

Almost two in three (64%) respondents would be interested in using telehealth if they became unexpectedly ill while traveling, 58 percent for a return visit, 55 percent for a one-time follow-up after surgery or a procedure, 35 percent for a new health problem, and 28 percent for a mental health concern.

Its clear that older Americans regard telehealth as potentially very convenient, but do not feel it is a replacement for in-person visits when it comes to very serious medical concerns.  Their main concerns with telehealth are that they are not receiving a physical exam, afraid the quality of care will be less, privacy, lack of personal connection, worried about using the technology and concerned about seeing or hearing the provider.

Source: NAHC Report


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