Telehealth Boosted Access to Follow-Up Visits for Black Patients
By Consumers For Quality Care, on February 8, 2022
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black patients saw a steep increase in the use of telemedicine for follow-up visits after a stay in the hospital, according to a study reported by mHealth Intelligence.
Historically, Black patients do not show up for follow-up appointments, which are critical to maintaining health and preventing readmittance to the hospital. Before the pandemic, just 52 percent of Black patients completed their follow-up telemedicine appointments. By June 2020, that had increased to 70 percent.
Eric Bessman, the author of the study, said, “We do have data from here in Philadelphia that there are racial inequities in geographic access to primary care provider. That is one factor among many that may influence whether a patient is able to make it to a scheduled appointment. It is also one of the ways in which telemedicine might level the playing field in terms of accessing primary care services.”
Telemedicine is a valuable tool to help close health care disparities for Black communities and other underrepresented communities. Lawmakers must do everything they can to ensure all patients can access telehealth services, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.