Study: Low health literacy, poorer neighborhoods associated with use of audio-only television

According to a Research published in Open JAMA Network.

The researchers analyzed more than 18,000 scheduled telehealth visits from outpatient clinics that are part of a large health system. The visits occurred early in the COVID-19 pandemic, from March to July 2020. They found that low health literacy and higher regional deprivation index (ADI) were associated with audio-only visits and higher ADIs were also associated with the possibility of not showing up before a telehealth appointment.

Overall, only 4% of visits were non-present and 8% of visits completed were audio-only.


Similar to previous researchAge, insurance status and identification as Black are also associated with an audio-only visit.

The use of audio is important to consider, the researchers note, as some insurance companies require video for coverage and questions remain about it. audio-only telemedicine quality.

“While barriers such as wireless internet access, technology costs, and privacy will require social change, healthcare systems should consider ways to improve access from far away. Previous job have shown that interventions (such as a pre-visit phone call) can improve the completion of telehealth by video,” they wrote.

“Future directions include enabling electronic medical records to remotely identify patients at risk of failure, studying ADI components, and linking health insights and use patient portal.”


Earlier this year, a report by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that Video support remote access lower among people of color, adults without a high school diploma, those with lower incomes, and those without health insurance.

But different Research published this year Acoustic examinations can be helpful for patients from disadvantaged groups. However, more resources are still needed, like third-party language interpretation services and dedicated workspaces for staff.

Meanwhile, the Office for Civil Rights at HHS recently issued guidelines about providing an audio-only television system while complying with HIPAA. House passed a bill on Wednesday that would extend telehealth’s flexibility during a public health emergency for another two years. The bill includes provisions for audio-only options.

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