(HealthDay News) — US adults are generally willing to use video visits but prefer in-person care for a nonemergency health issue, according to a study published online in JAMA Network Open.

Zachary S. Predmore, PhD, from the RAND Corporation in Boston, and colleagues surveyed 2080 adults (March 8 to 19, 2021) to assess patient preferences for video visits after the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency and to identify patient perceptions of the value of video visits.

The researchers found that two-thirds of participants (66.5%) preferred at least some video visits in the future, but given a choice, more than half of respondents (53%) preferred an in-person visit. Among those preferring an in-person visit when out-of-pocket costs were not a factor, nearly half (49.8%) still preferred in-person care and 23.5% switched to a video visit when confronted with the higher relative costs for in-person care. Among individuals who initially preferred a video visit, only 18.9% still preferred a video visit if it cost more and 61.7% switched to an in-person visit when confronted with higher relative costs for video visits.

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“Awareness of patient preferences will help to identify telehealth’s role in postpandemic health care delivery,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text