Telemedicine, COVID-19, and disparities

Telemedicine, COVID-19, and disparities
September 9, 2020 Center for Surgery and Public Health

September 9, 2020

In Health Policy and Technology, researchers from Mass General Brigham, including Gezzer Ortega, MD, MPH, and Amanda J. Reich, PhD, MPH, from CSPH, published an article on the rapid expansion of telemedicine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While authors highlight the impressive ability of health systems to adapt quickly to new complexities, they also raise important concerns about how to implement these novel modalities equitably.

As the healthcare system becomes increasingly virtual, it risks widening disparities among marginalized populations who have worse health outcomes at baseline and limited access to the resources necessary for the effective use of telemedicine. They review recent policy changes and outline important recommendations that governments and health care systems can adopt to improve access to telemedicine and to tailor the use of these technologies to best meet the needs of underserved patients. They suggest that by making health equity integral to the implementation of telemedicine now, it will help to ensure that all can benefit from its use going forward and that this will be increasingly integral to care delivery.

Full article available here

Ortega, G., Rodriguez, J. A., Maurer, L. R., Witt, E. E., Perez, N., Reich, A., & Bates, D. W. (2020). Telemedicine, COVID-19, and disparities: Policy implications. Health policy and technology9(3), 368–371. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hlpt.2020.08.001