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Primary care telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic: patient’s choice of video versus telephone visit

The aim of this study is to examine the association between patient characteristics and primary care telemedicine choice among integrated delivery system patients self-scheduling visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. We used multivariate logistic regression to examine the association between the choice of video versus telephone and patient sociodemographic characteristics and technology access among patient-initiated primary care telemedicine visits scheduled online from March to October 2020. Among 978 272 patient-scheduled primary care telemedicine visits, 39% were video visits. Patients of Black or Hispanic race/ethnicity, or living in low socioeconomic status or low internet access neighborhoods were less likely to schedule video visits. Patients 65 years or older, with prior video visit experience or mobile portal access, or visiting their own personal provider were more likely to schedule video visits. While video adoption was substantial in all patient groups examined, differences in telemedicine choice suggest the persistence of a digital divide, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a telephone telemedicine option.

Authors: Huang, Jie; Graetz, Ilana; Millman, Andrea; Gopalan, Anjali; Lee, Catherine; Muelly, Emilie; Reed, Mary E

JAMIA Open. 2022 Apr;5(1):ooac002. Epub 2022-01-19.

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