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Telehealth and the digital divide as a social determinant of health during the COVID-19 pandemic

by Ksenia Benifand, Aug 25
1 minute read

The digital divide has exacerbated the social and economic factors that already create barriers to health and well-being and is being dubbed as a new social determinant of health (SDOH). Challenges such as digital illiteracy and inadequate access to internet and technology contribute to the digital divide, especially among communities of color, the poor, and medically underserved.

person wearing lavatory gown with green stethoscope on neck using phone while standing

So what?

In the US, this is showing up as certain racial and ethnic groups are less likely to receive preventative medical services than white Americans and often receive lower quality care. Policy changes to address the digital divide may strengthen existing health care and public health systems ensure equitable approaches. Education on telehealth at the medical school and academic medical center levels are needed in a health systems science approach to training a more diverse and culturally competent physician workforce that are of, and by the communities that they serve. Where do you see opportunities to address the digital divide in healthcare? What kinds of interventions and solutions are needed? Where have you seen examples of interventions that are fit for purpose?



by Ksenia Benifand Spotted 6 signals

Senior Principal Change Designer, Forum for the Future Americas

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