Disparities in telehealth utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic: Findings from a nationally representative survey in the United States

Donglan Zhang, Lu Shi, Xuesong Han, Yan Li, Nahyo A. Jalajel, Sejal Patel, Zhuo Chen, Liwei Chen, Ming Wen, Hongmei Li, Baojiang Chen, Jian Li, Dejun Su

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Telehealth is an important source of health care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence is scarce regarding disparities in telehealth utilization in the United States. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with telehealth utilization among US adults. Our data came from the Health, Ethnicity, and Pandemic Study, a nationally representative survey conducted in October 2020, with 2554 adults ≥ 18 and an oversample of racial/ethnic minorities. Telehealth utilization was measured as self-reported teleconsultation with providers via email, text message, phone, video, and remote patient monitoring during the pandemic. Logistic regressions were performed to examine the association between telehealth use and factors at the individual, household, and community levels. Overall, 43% of the sample reported having used telehealth, representing 114.5 million adults in the nation. East and Southeast Asians used telehealth less than non-Hispanic Whites (OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.8). Being uninsured (compared with private insurance: OR = 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2–0.8), and those with limited broadband coverage in the community (OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.8) were less likely to use telehealth. There is a need to develop and implement more equitable policies and interventions at both the individual and community levels to improve access to telehealth services and reduce related disparities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Telehealth
  • community telehealth infrastructure
  • racial and ethnic minorities
  • telehealth disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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