Opinion: Closing digital divide would help end telehealth disparity

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic drove a rapid widescale shift to telehealth services, widening existing disparities for underserved communities. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, one in four Americans does not have the digital literacy skills or access to internet-enabled digital devices to engage in video visits. Patients with limited English proficiency, limited digital literacy, low socioeconomic status or older age often lack the resources required to overcome the structural barriers to telehealth access.

Digestive Disease and Sciences states that these underserved patient populations benefit most from telehealth services, yet challenges from the lack of infrastructure prevent the long-term implementation of telehealth services.

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