Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Access to Telehealth

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Fecha de publicación: 19 October 2020

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.16904

Autores: Verónica Rivera MD, Melissa D. Aldridge PhD, Katherine Ornstein PhD, Kate A. Moody BS, Audrey Chun MD


Rapid implementation of telehealth has become a hallmark of our healthcare system’s response to the COVID‐19 pandemic. Telehealth has demonstrated feasibility and efficacy in the care of older adults including vulnerable homebound populations. Implementation of telehealth was facilitated by both relaxation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) allowing the use of non–HIPAA‐compliant platforms for video visits, as well as a temporary increase in reimbursement rates for telehealth for Medicare and Medicaid patients.However, emerging evidence suggests that minority populations face substantial barriers to telehealth including lack of familiarity with technology, lower health and digital literacy, sensory impairments, lack of broadband access, and lack of assistance.Given the widespread implementation of telehealth as a tool to provide ongoing care to older adults during a pandemic, it is crucial to understand whether access to and use of telehealth services differed for disadvantaged groups including racial/ethnic minorities.

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