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In the space of four short years (since the COVID-19 pandemic), telehealth has become an integral part of the health care landscape and it’s here to stay. A new AARP survey shows many midlife and older Americans are comfortable using telehealth services and see telehealth as a better alternative in certain situations than in-person visits.

spinner image Woman consulting doctor using telehealth

Comfort with using telehealth services is high among adults 50 and older, with seven in ten (70%) saying they are (or would be) comfortable with these services. Telehealth use is high, and so, too, is satisfaction. Three-quarters (73%) of adults 50 and older have used telehealth at least once in the past 12 months and, among them, nearly all (90%) say they were very or somewhat satisfied with the experience.

Additionally, telehealth is seen as better than in-person medical visits when it comes to convenience (60%), but only half as many (29%) say the same thing about personal safety. Getting answers to simple questions (66%) or getting prescription refills (63%) are the top reasons for opting for a telehealth visit versus an in-person one.

However, older adults prefer in-person visits for “providing a personal touch” (73%), diagnosis accuracy (72%), and thoroughness (68%). Notably, one in eleven (9%) say they would never opt for a telehealth visit over an in-person one under any circumstance.

While nearly three-quarters (72%) of adults 50-plus say telehealth has made (or can make) it easier to seek out health care, most say telehealth should not be the primary way to interact with a health care provider (87%). Most also believe telehealth is best with a known health care provider rather than a new one (81%).

Three in 10 (31%) older adults report their health care providers do not provide telehealth or they are unsure if telehealth services are provided. Of those who do not currently have access to telehealth services, the majority say that should they have a telehealth service in the future, they would more likely use audio only (66%) rather than video (48%).

While concerns about telehealth as they relate to privacy and a lack of a personal connection with one’s health care provider have declined significantly, challenges in using telehealth remain for those whose health care providers don’t offer telehealth services, for those who lack access to broadband (or who are unable to afford it), and for the less technologically savvy among us.


The telehealth study was conducted using the NORC Foresight 50+ Panel among a sample of U.S. adults 50 and older using a combination of phone and online sampling. The survey interviews averaged 5 minutes in length. The interviews were conducted in English January 18–23, 2024. A total of 1,774 interviews were completed.

For more information, please contact Teresa A. Keenan at For media inquiries, contact External Relations at

Suggested Citation:
Keenan, Teresa A. and Lampkin, Cheryl. A New Look at Telehealth. Washington, DC: AARP Research, April 2024.