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Pediatric Telehealth Access and Utilization in Chicago During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

HumanInsight Pediatric Telehealth Access and Utilization in Chicago During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Telemed J E Health. 2023 Feb 2. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0481. Online ahead of print.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic demanded rapid development of telemedicine services for pediatric care and highlighted disparities for marginalized communities. Objective: To understand the demographic characteristics of patients with completed and incomplete telemedicine visits at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Methods: This was a cross-sectional retrospective analysis of telemedicine visits for patients <25 years old scheduled between March 21, 2020, and March 17, 2021. We examined visit outcomes and compared outcomes by race/ethnicity, language, and payer using logistic regression. Geographic information system mapping and linear regression were used to examine the relationship between incomplete visits and broadband access within Cook County. Results: A total of 13,655 eligible video visits were scheduled for children within 147 ZIP codes during the study time frame. Patient characteristics included median age 9 years, 53% female, 42% non-Latinx White, 31% Latinx, 13% non-Latinx Black, 11% non-Latinx other, and 3% declined/unknown. Preferred language was 89% English, 10% Spanish, and 1% other. Payer was 56% private, 43% public, and <1% other/self-pay. Overall, 86% video visits were completed, 7% cancelled, and 7% no-show with significant variation by patient demographic. Odds of incomplete visits were higher for Latinx patients (odds ratio [OR] 1.93) and non-Latinx Black patients (OR 2.33) than for non-Latinx White patients, patients with preferred language other than English (OR 1.53), and patients not privately insured (OR 1.89). Incomplete visit rates and broadband access were inversely related. Conclusion: System and policy solutions are needed to ensure equitable access and address disparities in incomplete telemedicine visits for marginalized populations in urban areas with lower broadband.

PMID:36730746 | DOI:10.1089/tmj.2022.0481

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