Health Affairs: The Health Plan Environment in California Contributed to Differential Use of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Differential patient and provider access to technology and resources has raised concerns that existing health disparities may be extenuated by shifts to virtual care. This study examines the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, to examine potential disparities in the use of telehealth. Researchers found that lower-income, non-White, and non-English-speaking people were more likely to use telehealth. These differences were driven by enrollment in a clinically and financially integrated care delivery system, Kaiser Permanente. The study suggests that access to integrated care may be more important to the adoption of health technology than patient-level differences.

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