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Study suggests more people embrace benefits of telehealth


A USC study released this week found that Californians have embraced telehealth and remote work during the coronavirus pandemic, and many expect to take far fewer work- and health-related vehicle trips even after it ends.

“The hesitancy towards remote work, learning and telehealth was swept away by necessity during the pandemic,” said Hernan Galperin, the study’s lead researcher and an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for

Communication and Journalism.

“Now we’re seeing a seismic shift in the way people want to work, learn and manage health visits among those who have broadband access,” Galperin said. “Those changes give us a real opportunity to cut congestion and carbon emissions.”

The study, which was conducted by USC and the California Emerging Technology Fund, surveyed 1,650 California residents and found that 55 percent of those with access to broadband had been working fully or partly from home, with 38 percent working from home full time and 17 percent part time.

Of those currently working from home, 31 percent said they would prefer to work from home every day after the pandemic, 22 percent said they would prefer three or four days from home, 29 percent said they would prefer one or two days from home, and 18 percent said they would not prefer to remain working from home any day.

“This is a very fascinating result,” Galperin said, highlighting “the tremendous potential of remote work to continue after the pandemic, not by necessity but really by choice of workers.”

The study also found that employed participants 65 and older experience the highest level of remote work, with 63 percent of participants responding that they were able to work from home.

“We tend to think of older adults as those who are less comfortable with computers and the internet. But in fact they are the group that, when they are employed, they’re taking the most advantage of telework for obvious reasons that are related to their higher risk of COVID exposure,” Galperin said.