Demographic factors linked to low telemedicine literacy

Demographic factors linked to low telemedicine literacy

Demographic factors including low income and living in a rural area are linked to low telemedicine literacy – which may limit access to plastic surgeons and other healthcare providers at a time of expanding use of telehealth and video visits, according to a report in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine use in the US healthcare system has grown significantly, helped by the 2020 CARES Act. Telemedicine, according to Dr. Ranganathan, "will undoubtedly play a significant role in plastic surgery practises moving forward due to its convenience." "However, obstacles to effective telemedicine visits may worsen already-existing health disparities among disadvantaged groups," the statement continued. Based on a 2019 Pew Research Institute survey on internet and technology use, the researchers discovered sociodemographic and geographic factors related to obstacles to successful telemedicine visits. The researchers used the survey results to create a new Technology Literacy Index (TLI), which takes three criteria into account: comfort with technology, access to the internet, and possession of a smartphone.

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