08 Jan 2021
JMIR medical informatics;
BACKGROUND: Although telehealth is considered a key component in combating the worldwide crisis caused by COVID-19, the factors that influence its acceptance by the general population after the flattening of the COVID-19 curve remain unclear. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify factors affecting telehealth acceptance, including anxiety related to COVID-19, after the initial rapid spread of the disease in South Korea. METHODS: We proposed an extended technology acceptance model (TAM) and performed a cross-sectional survey of individuals aged ≥30 years. In total, 471 usable responses were collected. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine the validity of measurements, and the partial least squares (PLS) method was used to investigate factors influencing telehealth acceptance and the impacts of COVID-19. RESULTS: PLS analysis showed that increased accessibility, enhanced care, and ease of telehealth use had positive effects on its perceived usefulness (P=.002, P<.001, and P<.001, respectively). Furthermore, perceived usefulness, ease, and privacy/discomfort significantly impacted the acceptance of telehealth (P<.001, P<.001, and P<.001, respectively). However, anxiety toward COVID-19 was not associated with telehealth acceptance (P=.112), and this insignificant relationship was consistent in the cluster (n=216, 46%) of respondents with chronic diseases (P=.185). CONCLUSIONS: Increased accessibility, enhanced care, usefulness, ease of use, and privacy/discomfort are decisive variables affecting telehealth acceptance in the Korean general population, whereas anxiety about COVID-19 is not. This study may lead to a tailored promotion of telehealth after the pandemic subsides.