Telemedicine used less in low-income communities, study finds

Telemedicine use amid the COVID-19 pandemic was lower in communities with higher rates of poverty, a study published in Health Affairs found.

The study examined the variation in total outpatient visits and telemedicine use of 16.7 million commercially insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees from January to June 2020. 

During the research period, 30.1 percent of visits were provided virtually. About 31.9 percent of people in communities with the lowest poverty rates used telemedicine versus 27.9 percent in communities with the highest poverty rates.

Patients over 65 and those who live in rural communities also used telemedicine at lower rates.

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