Equitable Telemedicine Care
The COVID-19 pandemic required a shift in health care delivery, necessitating a new reliance on telemedicine.
Telemedicine successfully enabled patients to receive care safely amid the pandemic. However, as novel care delivery models are established, it is critical to explore their implications on equity.
We worked with colleagues from across the health system to launch a large-scale study examining inequitable access to telemedicine. The team analyzed data for nearly 150,000 patients at Penn Medicine, all of which had been previously scheduled to have a primary care or ambulatory specialty visit between March and May 2020.
- Patients older than 55 were 25 percent less likely than the average patient to successfully participate in a telemedicine visit, with people older than 75 being 33 percent less likely.
- People who identified as Asian were 31 percent less likely to conduct a telemedicine visit, and those who did not speak English were 16 percent less likely.
- Patients with lower household incomes were also less likely to conduct a video visit, with those making less than $50,000 being 43 percent less likely.