The COVID-19 pandemic compelled medical centers across the country to embrace telemedicine quickly. Given that telemedicine was projected to continue beyond the epidemic in subspecialties such as pediatric dermatology, there was growing concern that socioeconomic considerations might contribute to unequal telemedicine access. For a study, researchers sought to uncover characteristics linked to discrepancies in telemedicine use among pediatric dermatology patients. This single-center cross-sectional study included patients under 18 who completed a visit with a pediatric dermatologist through video telemedicine or in-person office visit within the indicated periods. To examine demographic characteristics for patients who had a telemedicine visit against an office visit from June 1, 2020, to January 22, 2021, and patients who had either visit type from June 1, 2019, to January 2020, investigators used univariate and multivariable analyses. Identifying as Black/African American, having a non-English preferred language, and having public insurance were independent factors associated with lower odds of telemedicine, whereas identifying as Hispanic/Latino and having public insurance were independent factors reducing overall access to pediatric dermatology care during the pandemic. Differential telemedicine utilization in vulnerable populations could be due to differences in technology access and digital literacy, which should be addressed structurally. Telemedicine could be an effective technique for improving access to pediatric dermatology if inequities were detected and effectively addressed.

Source:onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pde.14982