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Most Americans Support Expansion of Asynchronous Telehealth Options

Mark Melchionna

July 21, 2022

A new survey shows that a majority of Americans support legislation that would expand asynchronous telehealth, thereby increasing access to care, particularly mental healthcare.

Two-thirds (69 percent) of Americans are in favor of legislation to expand access to asynchronous telehealth, according to a new survey.

Telehealth company Hims & Hers Health worked with polling firm Public Opinion Strategies to conduct a survey of 1,301 US adults between Feb. 13 and 17. The results indicate that optimizing telehealth and changing policies are critical.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected healthcare overall, resulting in an increased need for care, especially for behavioral healthcare.

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The survey found that only 38 percent of respondents reported having good mental health, which was lower than the 52 percent who said the same in February 2021.

But about 60 percent of respondents said that accessing care is a problem.

Researchers then collected data regarding virtual care methods that could help widen mental and physical healthcare access.

About 55 percent of survey respondents said they have participated in a telehealth visit, higher than the 10 percent who reported the same in June 2019, 29 percent in April 2020, 43 percent in August 2020, and 51 percent in February 2021, according to the survey.

In addition, asynchronous telehealth use is of high interest among survey respondents. About 69 percent of respondents favor legislation that could increase access to asynchronous telehealth. These types of legislation are most popular among Democrats (77 percent) and Black adults (76 percent), though high proportions of Republicans (60 percent) and Hispanic adults (70 percent) are also in support.

In addition, a vast majority of healthcare workers (82 percent) indicated high levels of support for expanding asynchronous telehealth.

“Patients want to receive care in the way that works best for them, and this is increasingly a combination of telehealth support via synchronous real-time video consultation and asynchronous interactions, as well as in-person care between providers and patients," said Galen Alexander, director of public affairs at Hims & Hers, in an email. "Telehealth, both synchronous and asynchronous, can help address some of the mental health crises our country is facing. Based on this representative survey, Americans want to be in control of their care and would like to see legislators allow for different modes of receiving care.”

Previous research has also indicated an increasing need for telemental healthcare.

A study published in January showed that despite a slight decline in overall telehealth use, virtual mental healthcare remained popular. It also revealed that mental health conditions were the most common telehealth diagnosis in September and October 2021.

Lawmakers do appear to be taking steps to expand telemental healthcare. In May, four US Senators released a discussion draft of telehealth policies for mental healthcare initiatives that focus on increasing access and directing insurers to support virtual care.

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