With access to in-person health care limited to all but the most critical health cases during the coronavirus pandemic, results from two new surveys show increased awareness of, and interest in, remote access to health care services.
These national surveys by AARP of people over 18 finds that awareness has increased most notably for the term telehealth, which rose by 11 percentage points from early March through early May. Adults 50–64 are most likely to have heard of each of the three terms — telehealth, telemedicine, and teledoc.
Barriers to increased use of telehealth services include lack of knowledge in using these services and concerns about the possibility of medical errors and breaches. Roughly half of respondents noted each of these concerns.
Adults 65 and over who envision more widely using telehealth cited a lack of access to both high-speed internet and computers (about one-third) and a lack of knowledge on how to use telehealth (about one-half). These issues could stymie their efforts.
Comfort with telehealth may increase as usage increases. Among adults who used telehealth services in the month preceding the April survey, a strong majority, 85 percent, say they would use it to renew prescriptions. Three-quarters say they would use it for a routine doctor’s visit.
The initial AARP telephone survey was fielded in March 2020 among a nationally representative sample of 2,014 adults 18 and older. The second telephone survey, fielded April 21–May 2, was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,829 adults 18 and older.
Keenan, Teresa A. Views on Telehealth. Washington, DC: AARP Research, June 2020. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00388.001