Is Telemedicine Closing the ‘Race Gap’ in Primary Care?

News Picture: Is Telemedicine Closing the 'Race Gap' in Primary Care?

FRIDAY, May 13, 2022 (HealthDay News)

Here’s a technique through which the pandemic didn’t exacerbate well being care disparities: A brand new research reveals that telemedicine has closed the hole in entry to main care between Black and non-Black Americans.

The use of telemedicine boomed throughout the pandemic, so University of Pennsylvania researchers determined to look at how that affected Black sufferers’ traditionally decrease entry to main care.

“We looked through the entire year of 2020, not just the first half of the year when telemedicine was the only option for many people, and the appointment completion gap between Black and non-Black patients closed,” mentioned research senior writer Dr. Krisda Chaiyachati, an assistant professor of medication at Penn Medicine.

“Offering telemedicine, although it was for a disaster, seems to have been a big step ahead towards addressing long-standing inequities in well being care entry,” he mentioned in a college information launch.

The researchers analyzed information on visits by Black and non-Black sufferers (predominately whites) to main care suppliers within the Philadelphia space in 2019 and 2020. The research included about 1 million appointments every year.

Rates of accomplished main care visits amongst Black sufferers rose from about 60% in 2019 to greater than 80% in 2020, whereas charges amongst non-Blacks rose from about 70% to greater than 80%.

“The specific time periods where we saw significant gains made by Black patients came when telemedicine was well-established in our health system,” Chaiyachati mentioned. “This does not appear to be a coincidence.”

Black sufferers had been extra doubtless to make use of telemedicine than non-Black sufferers. In 2020, about 33% of Black sufferers’ appointments had been accomplished through telemedicine, in contrast with 25% for non-Black sufferers, in line with the findings.

The research was printed not too long ago within the journal Telemedicine and e-Health,

“Telemedicine allowed patients to seek non-urgent primary care despite hesitancy for in-person visits pre-vaccine,” famous research co-author Dr. Corinne Rhodes, an assistant professor of inside medication and assistant medical director of Quality in Penn Medicine’s Primary Care Service Line.

“Providing chronic disease management and preventive care helped return primary care offices closer to pre-pandemic business as usual,” she mentioned within the launch.

There had been considerations at the beginning of the pandemic that telemedicine may widen the racial hole in entry to care, however this research provides to proof that was not the case for main care.

“As the health care sector — policymakers, payers, providers and patients — continue to develop the role telemedicine may play in health care’s future, understanding how it can be a mechanism for improving equity is an important dimension to consider,” Chaiyachati mentioned .

More data

There’s extra on telemedicine on the American Academy of Family Physicians,

SOURCE: University of Pennsylvania, information launch, May 9, 2022

By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter

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