Senior woman using Ipad

Two new studies challenge the popularity of telehealth among patients as Congress considers expanding access to virtual healthcare.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found when consumers were presented with a choice between an in-person physician visit or a virtual one, most preferred in-person care. More than a third of 2,080 adults surveyed said they preferred at least some telehealth visits. But when asked if they had a choice between virtual and in-person care, more than half said they would opt for a face-to-face with their physician.

In a separate study by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, more than half of physicians polled across 34 countries reported having patients who refused a virtual visit due to mistrust of technology, privacy concerns and data safety. Clinicians also had concerns. More than 80% said they were uncertain about how data would be used and shared during virtual visits.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded access to virtual visits during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act now before Congress would continue to expand telehealth access beyond the PHE.