Patient Safety | 03.17.21
Improving Telehealth Means Addressing Inequality in Healthcare
The rapid emergence of telehealth during the pandemic has been uneven, as research shows disparities in access, particularly for marginalized groups. In developed urban areas, 97 percent of people have high-speed Internet access. But when considering health inequalities in rural and remote areas, that proportion falls to 65 percent. People who have disabilities are 14 percent less likely to have quality broadband; Black patients suffering from certain chronic conditions were 51 percent less likely than their white counterparts; and Hispanic patients were 42 percent less likely. Moreover, many communities don't trust healthcare institutions due to a history of discrimination. Providers can begin addressing these problems by digitizing paper processes whenever possible and making telehealth platforms more inclusive.
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