BACKGROUND: Although telehealth is considered a key component in combating the worldwide crisis caused by COVID-19, factors related with its acceptance in the general population after the flattening of the curve on COVID-19 remain vague .
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify factors affecting telehealth acceptance, including anxiety for COVID-19, after the initial rapid spread of COVID-19 in South Korea .
METHODS: We proposed an extended technology acceptance model (TAM) and performed a cross-sectional survey of individuals> 30 years of age; 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>.1).
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 toward COVID-19 is not . This study may lead to appropriate promotion of telehealth service after a dampening of the pandemic.