Thursday, October 6“Racism never sleeps.”

Study: Telemedicine narrowed gap between Black and non-Black patients accessing primary care in 2020

A study released this week indicates the gap between Black and non-Black patients who visited their primary care providers narrowed significantly during the pandemic in 2020.

Completed primary care visits among Black patients jumped to 80% in 2020 compared to about 60% in 2019. Completed visits among non-Black patients increased by about 10% — 60% in 2019 to 70% in 2020, according to the study.

The findings came from researchers at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and were published in the Telemedicine and e-Health journal.

The study used electronic health records from more than 1.9 million appointments and compared data during four 3-month periods in 2020 with data from 2019. The data was provided by 60 primary care clinics in the Philadelphia area.

The study also indicated Black patients were more likely to use telemedicine than non-Black patients with about 33% of Black patients’ appointments completed in 2020 compared with 25% among non-Black patients.

Opinion: Whether this signals a long-term shift in perception — or use — of telemedicine among Blacks across the country remains to be seen. Last month a different study indicated Black and Hispanic patients are less likely to use “Telehealth” due to racial disparities and access to broadband internet. Only time will tell.

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