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Introduction: The rise in telehealth adoption due to the emergence of COVID-19 may have had implications for men who experience barriers to accessing traditional forms of healthcare. This study sought to explore
how a sample of older men interacted with telehealth during the pandemic.
Method: Data sourced from a cross-sectional, population-based questionnaire (completed from October 2020 to March 2021) were used to analyze the characteristics of older men’s (a) use of telehealth services, and (b) perceptions of telehealth in comparison to in-person healthcare using Andersen’s Behavioral Model of Health Services Use.
Results: Of the 731 participants (mean age = 69 years; SD = 9.6), 241 (32.9%) had used telehealth services during pandemic restrictions. Most of them who had used telehealth (63.1%; 152/241) thought it was “just as good” as in-person, 4.1% (10/241) believed it was “better,” and 25.7% (62/241) thought it was “worse.” Men with more chronic conditions were more likely to (a) have used telehealth (odds ratio [OR], 1.44 [95% CI, 1.21–1.71]) and (b) perceived telehealth as “better” or “just as good” as in-person healthcare (OR, 1.63 [95% CI, 1.17–2.29]). Men with clinically significant depressive symptoms were more likely to view telehealth as worse than in-person care (OR, 0.32 [95% CI, 0.12–0.88]).
Conclusion: While telehealth is acceptable to the majority of middle-aged and older men who have used it during the pandemic, attitudes may vary according to their current health issues. Men with more chronic conditions are more likely to feel positive about telehealth, while those with clinically significant depression symptoms are more likely to view it negatively. Healthcare providers should consider men’s needs and preferences when offering telehealth services.
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