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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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COVID 19 (Disease) -- United States -- Health Care


Background and Objectives Telemedicine can expand healthcare access to populations, but relying on technology risks a digital divide. Therefore, it is important to understand who utilizes telemedicine. This study explores telemedicine usage across socio-demographic groups in the United States during COVID-19. Methods Data came from the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) between 14 April 2021, to 11 April 2022. HPS is a rapid online response survey that assesses household experiences during COVID-19. We calculated descriptive statistics and used cross-correlation to test each pair of the time series curves. Results High school graduates used the least telemedicine (20.58%), while those with some college (23.29%) or college graduates (22.61%) had similar levels, and those with less than a high school education fluctuated over time. Black people had higher levels of use (26.31%) than Asians (22.01%). Individuals with disabilities (35.40%) used telemedicine more than individuals without disabilities (20.21%). Individuals 80 years or over (27.63%) used telemedicine more than individuals 18 to 29 years old (18.44%). Cross-correlations for the time series pairs across demographics revealed significant differences in telemedicine use for all demographic groups over time. Conclusions Overall, elderly, Black people, individuals with some college, and persons with disabilities report higher levels of telemedicine use. Telemedicine may improve healthcare access post-pandemic, but more research is needed to understand factors that drive differences among groups.


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