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Health Aff (Millwood). 2018 Dec;37(12):2060-2068. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05101.

Are State Telehealth Policies Associated With The Use Of Telehealth Services Among Underserved Populations?

Author information

1
Jeongyoung Park ( jpark14@gwu.edu ) is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing and the Health Workforce Research Center, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.
2
Clese Erikson is deputy director of the Health Workforce Research Center, Department of Health Policy and Management, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University.
3
Xinxin Han is a PhD candidate in health policy at the Trachtenberg School, George Washington University.
4
Preeti Iyer was a data analyst intern in the Health Care Affairs Unit, Association of American Medical Colleges, in Washington, D.C., when this work was conducted. She is currently a third-year computer science student at Princeton University, in New Jersey.

Abstract

Using four years of data from a nationally representative consumer survey, we examined trends in telehealth usage over time and the role state telehealth policies play in telehealth use. Telehealth use increased dramatically during the period 2013-16, with new modalities such as live video, live chat, texting, and mobile apps gaining traction. The rate of live video communication rose from 6.6 percent in June 2013 to 21.6 percent in December 2016. However, underserved populations-including Medicaid, low-income, and rural populations-did not use live video communication as widely as other groups did. Less restrictive state telehealth policies were not associated with increased usage overall or among underserved populations. This study suggests that state efforts alone to remove barriers to using telehealth might not be sufficient for increasing use, and new incentives for providers and consumers to adopt and use telehealth may be needed.

PMID:
30633679
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05101

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