Telemedicine has to be quickly implemented in hospitals across the United States due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In subspecialties like pediatric dermatology, where telemedicine is anticipated to continue after the epidemic, there was growing concern that socioeconomic considerations may lead to unequal telemedicine access. For a study, researchers sought to pinpoint the elements that contributed to differences in the pandemic’s use of telemedicine among pediatric dermatology patients.
Patients under the age of 18 who finished a visit with a pediatric dermatologist through a video telemedicine call or in-person office visit during the designated time periods were included in this single-center cross-sectional research. The demographic characteristics of patients who underwent telemedicine visits versus office visits from June 1, 2020, to January 22, 2021, and those who underwent either type of visit from June 1, 2020, to January 22, 2021, compared to June 1, 2019, to January 2020, were compared using both univariate and multivariable analyses.
Being Hispanic/Latino and having public insurance are the independent factors reducing overall access to pediatric dermatology care during the pandemic, whereas identifying as Black/African American and having a non-English preferred language increased telemedicine odds.
Disparities in technology access and digital literacy may be the cause of differential telemedicine use in disadvantaged groups, which should be addressed structurally. Telemedicine can be a useful technique for increasing access in the area of pediatric dermatology, provided such gaps are recognized and appropriately addressed.