A study conducted by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute found that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Latino and Asian patients were more likely to have challenges with telehealth use compared to white patients due to the limited availability of non-English resources during telehealth and in-person visits.”
The goal of the research was to examine the role of patient race and ethnicity in the use of in-person and telehealth visits to manage chronic conditions before and after the stay-at-home order was issued in California in March 2020. While focusing on seven clinical sites in Los Angeles County, researchers conducted a mixed-methods approach, both analyzing patient visits (in-person, telehealth, or video) and administering surveys to health care providers in the same clinics.
According to the clinicians surveyed, while Latino and Asian patients had more challenges with telehealth, Black and Caucasian patients experienced fewer hurdles. Older patients and those with limited access to technology also encountered more hurdles accessing telehealth services. Researchers also discovered that after health sessions shifted to telehealth, they often did not revert back to in-person.
The authors of the study highlighted key “lessons learned” from California’s telehealth rollout during COVID-19. Technology literacy and access to broadband were important factors for enabling telehealth use – especially among patients of color. Additionally, the authors stated, hybrid models of care – both telehealth and in-person visits – could improve care management and quality of care for patients with chronic health conditions.
 Bustamante, A. V., Silver, J., Martinez, L. E., Baldera-Medina Anaya, Y., Malagon, J. C. R., & Benitez Santos, N. (2023, January 24). Equity Gaps in Telehealth Use to Manage Chronic Conditions During COVID-19. Latino Policy & Politics Institute. Available at: https://latino.ucla.edu/research/equity-gaps-telehealth-covid-19/
February 2, 2023 – C. St. John