Telemedicine Accessibility: A Pilot Study on Patients’ Technology Access and Capability
Presented by: 
Adrian Jones
Medical student
Drexel University School of Medicine
(Poster pending)
Drexel University College of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation
Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, Department of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Adrian John Jones; Brian Coburn, MD PhD; Corinne Rhodes, MD MPH; Krisda Chaiyachati, MD MPH MSHP; Srinath Adusumalli, MD MSc; Damien Leri, MS.Ed MPH; Deirdre Sawinski, MD

 

Abstract:
 

Due to COVID-19, there has been a large-scale transition from in-person clinic visits to telemedicine. The effects of telemedicine implementation on vulnerable populations remain poorly characterized. The widening gap, termed “digital divide,” between those with ready access and ability to use to communications technology and those without hardware, broadband access, and/or ability to use these resources has been further highlighted by the pandemic. Eberly et al. [Circulation (2020)] examined phone versus video telemedicine utilization and found patients with completed telemedicine video visits were less likely to be black and had a higher median household income. Initial data from our study indicates that clinic and health system goals have led to a significant increase in the proportion of telemedicine visits done by video from less than 10% before the pandemic started to greater than 80% after. However, there is a lack of research assessing the effect increased use of video visits will have on accessibility and health disparities. This pilot study aims to describe a patient population’s perceived technological capabilities and determine the feasibility of video visit technology within a primarily underserved population. Patients seen in an outpatient clinic were distributed a survey which measured internet and technology access, capability, and preference for telemedicine visits. Patient survey data will be assessed in relation to race, socioeconomic status, and clinic completion rates. We hope our findings can elucidate important patient risk factors and disparities related to technology access to better target interventions to reduce disparities in care.

 

Keywords: telemedicine, health care access, technological disparities

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