A multi-stakeholder approach is needed to reduce the digital divide and encourage equitable access to telehealth

Victor M. Gallegos-Rejas*, Emma E. Thomas, Jaimon T. Kelly, Anthony C. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the COVID-19 pandemic onset, there has been exponential growth in the uptake of telehealth, globally. However, evidence suggests that people living in lower socioeconomic areas, cultural and linguistically diverse communities, people with disabilities, and with low health literacy are less likely to receive telehealth services. These population groups have disproportionately higher health needs and face additional barriers to healthcare access. Barriers that reduce access to telehealth further exacerbate existing gaps in care delivery. To improve equity of access to telehealth, we need to reduce the digital divide through a multi-stakeholder approach. This article proposes practical steps to reduce the digital divide and encourage equitable access to telehealth. Enabling more equitable access to telehealth requires improvements in digital health literacy, workforce training in clinical telehealth, co-design of new telehealth-enabled models of care, change management, advocacy for culturally appropriate services, and sustainable funding models.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Telemedicine and Telecare
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022
Externally publishedYes

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