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Patient Characteristics and Telemedicine Use in the US, 2022

HumanInsight Patient Characteristics and Telemedicine Use in the US, 2022

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Mar 4;7(3):e243354. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.3354.


IMPORTANCE: Telemedicine use was common during the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding many patients' approaches to accessing health care. Of concern is whether telemedicine access was poorer among higher-needs and disadvantaged populations.

OBJECTIVE: To assess patient characteristics associated with telemedicine use and telemedicine mode and describe telemedicine visit experiences by telemedicine mode.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This cross-sectional study included data from the 2022 Health Information National Trends Survey and included US adults with a health care visit. Data were analyzed from May to September 2023.

EXPOSURE: Patient characteristics.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Any telemedicine visits vs in-person visits only; telemedicine mode (video vs audio-only). Multivariable logistic models assessed patient characteristics associated with telemedicine visits and mode. Bivariate analyses compared telemedicine experiences by mode.

RESULTS: The study included 5437 adult patients (mean [SE] age, 49.4 [0.23] years; 3136 females [53.4%]; 1928 males [46.6%]). In 2022, 2384 patients (43%) had a telemedicine visit; 1565 (70%) had a video visit while 819 (30%) had an audio-only visit. In multivariable models, older age (≥75 years: adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.63; 95% CI, 0.42-0.94), no internet use (aOR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.48-0.81), and living in the Midwest (aOR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.35-0.70) were negatively associated with having telemedicine visits. Female sex (aOR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.12-1.83), having chronic conditions (aOR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.66-2.73), and multiple health care visits (2-4 visits: aOR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.23-2.54; ≥5 visits: aOR, 3.29; 95% CI, 2.20-4.92) were positively associated. Among individuals who used telemedicine, older age (65-74 years: aOR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.09-4.14; ≥75 years: aOR, 3.58; 95% CI, 1.60-8.00), no health insurance (aOR, 2.84; 95% CI, 1.42-5.67), and no internet use (aOR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.18-3.78) were positively associated with having audio-only visits. We observed no significant differences in telemedicine use or mode by education, race and ethnicity, or income. Patients' experiences using telemedicine were generally similar for video and audio-only except more individuals who used audio-only had privacy concerns (20% vs 12%, P = .02).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cross-sectional study of adults with health care visits, many patients, including those with the greatest care needs, chose telemedicine even after in-person visits were available. These findings support continuing this care delivery approach as an option valued by patients. Differences were not observed by most common measures of socioeconomic status. Continued monitoring of telemedicine use is needed to ensure equitable access to health care innovations.

PMID:38517438 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.3354

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