Telehealth Use By Persons with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:COVID-19 pandemic, Persons with disabilities, Telehealth
Telehealth use rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding if, and how, people from disabilities used telehealth during the pandemic is vital to assuring this evolving and increasingly common form of health care is equitably developed and delivered to avoid reproducing the health disparities people with disabilities already face. Our aim was to explore the use of telehealth among people with disabilities during the pandemic. We conducted a weighted secondary analysis of United States Census Bureau data (April-July 2021) from 38,512 (unweighted) people with disabilities. Our findings revealed 39.8% of people with disabilities used telehealth during the second year of the pandemic, ranging from 34.5% of people with hearing disabilities to 43.3% of people with mobility disabilities. There were also differences in telehealth use based on sociodemographics. Telehealth promises to open doors to more equitable health care access for many people with disabilities, but only if access barriers are removed.
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