Increasing number of Americans prefer telehealth, poll finds

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More Americans have used and continue to use teleheath for mental health care. according to a recent online poll by the American Psychiatric Association.

More Americans have used and continue to use teleheath for mental health care, according to a recent online poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Conducted from March 26 to April 5, poll results found that 38% of respondents reported using telehealth when seeking services of a health professional — a 31% increase from this past fall.

In total, 82% of respondents reported using telehealth, with 69% of consultations being done via video and 38% as phone calls.

The quick pivot in providing telehealth services at the beginning of the pandemic was vital to providing continued access to care, according to APA President Vivian Pender, MD. The poll results show the important potential role for telehealth going forward.

"Telepsychiatry especially helps those facing barriers such as lack of transportation, the inability to take time off work for appointments, or family responsibilities," she said, in an APA news release.

Poll results also reveal that Americans' confidence in telehealth is expanding.

When compared to 2020, respondents indicated a slight increase in willingness to say telehealth services provide the same quality of care as in-person services (45% compared to 40%). Preference for telehealth for mental health services also went up (59% compared to 49%).

Demographically, 66% of 18- to 29-year-olds reported they would do so, compared to 36% of seniors.

Between 58% and 61% each of Black respondents, Hispanic respondents, and white respondents also reported they would use telehealth when seeking mental health services.

In all, approximately 43% of poll respondents said they plan to continue using telehealth services post-pandemic, with 34% saying they would prefer it to in-person office visits (a 3% increase from 2020).

Forty-five percent of 18- to 44-year-old respondents reported acceptance of telehealth— the highest rate among all age groups.

Additionally, 57% of respondents said they would consider an online chat or support line when facing mental anxiety and personal difficulty. Seven percent reported having already done so, while 21% said they would not consider it.

Note: The APA reported a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for the poll.

References

American Psychiatric Association. New Nationwide Poll Shows an Increased Popularity for Telehealth Services. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/news-releases/New-Nationwide-Poll-Shows-an-Increased-Popularity-for-Telehealth-Services. Access 6/4/21.

American Psychiatric Association. APA 2021 Public Opinion Poll: Access to Care. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/apa-public-opinion-poll-2021-access-to-care. Accessed 6/4/21.