Technology | 01.06.21
Older Adults, Minorities, and People With Lower Incomes Face Inequities in Telemedicine Use
News-Medical (12/29/20) Henderson, Emily
A study in JAMA Network Open indicates significant inequities in the use of telemedicine, especially by age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and when someone needed to use a non-English language. The researchers analyzed data for nearly 150,000 patients of a large, academic medical system. All were previously scheduled to have a primary care or ambulatory specialty appointment between March 16 and May 11, which coincided with the first COVID-19 surge. The data indicated that 54% conducted their visits via telemedicine, while 46% of that population had visits conducted via video. Generally, patients older than 55 were 25% less likely than the average patient to participate in a telemedicine visit, with people older than 75 being 33% less likely. People identifying as Asian were 31% less likely to conduct a telemedicine visit, and non-English speakers were 16% less likely. Using Medicaid for insurance also made patients less likely to successfully conduct a telemedicine visit. Those over 55 were at least 32% less likely to conduct a video visit, and those over 75 were 51% less likely.
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