Poll: 80% of US patients will 'always prefer' in-person visits to telehealth after COVID-19
A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll for San Diego-based pharmaceutical company Neurocrine Biosciences found that 80% of U.S. patients will “always prefer” in-person physician visits to telemedicine.
“This poll demonstrates that Americans strongly prefer in-person doctor appointments to telehealth to ensure they are confident in the appropriateness of the care they receive,” Kevin Gorman, PhD, chief executive officer of Neurocrine Biosciences, told Healio Rheumatology. “These findings are significant for policymakers as they examine which aspects of virtual care should become a more permanent part of care delivery, while making sure that the different needs of patients are met.”
According to a Neurocrine press release, the survey was conducted online among 2,589 adults in the United States from June 29 to July 2. Results were weighted when necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the U.S. population. As the survey was not based on a probability sample, no estimate of any theoretical sampling error was calculated, the release said.
According to the survey, 41% of the respondents reported receiving health care services via telehealth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas 72% said they have had an in-person appointment.
Although 87% reported they were satisfied with the services they received through telehealth, 66% said they would prefer an in-person appointment in the future, if given the choice. In addition, 82% agreed telehealth appointments were a great option during the pandemic, but that doctors’ visits are best in person, and 80% agreed with the statement, “I will always prefer in-person doctors’ visits to telehealth.”
Among the respondents, 9% reported they had received telehealth services from a rheumatologist since the start of the pandemic, with 5% stating they had an in-person rheumatology visit. Of those who saw a rheumatologist — either in-person or via telehealth — 55% said they would prefer in-person visits in the future, compared with 41% who favored telehealth.
Other results from the survey include:
- 81% of respondents agreed telehealth appointments meet some but not all of their health care needs;
- 79% agreed they like the convenience of telehealth but do not want it to replace in-person appointments;
- 72% said it is important to have health care providers who offer both in-person and telehealth visits;
- 53% cited the possibility of a health care provider missing something, due to limited view or observation, as a disadvantage of telehealth; and
- 37% of respondents have postponed a medical appointment since the start of the pandemic until they could schedule an in-person visit.
“Telehealth was a critical connection to care for many of us during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and likely will play a key contributing role in our nation’s health care delivery system moving forward” Gorman said in the press release. “These responses underscore the importance of post-pandemic telehealth policies that accommodate the unique needs of different patients and patient groups, for whom telehealth can effectively complement, but should not replace, in-person care.”