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Bridging the Digital Divide
Tactics to Address Patient Barriers to Virtual Care

Resource Topic: HIT/Data

Resource Subtopic: Telehealth, Patient Engagement.

Keywords: Access to Care, Appointments, Communication, Transparency, and Outreach, Outreach, Patient Portals.

Year Developed: 2021

Resource Type: Publication.

Primary Audience: Administrative Staff Clinicians PCAs
Secondary Audience: Board of Directors C-Suite (CEOs, CFOs, CIO, COOs, CMOs, etc.) Enabling Staff Outreach Staff

Language: English

Developed by: HITEQ (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: Lack of Internet and broadband access prevents some patients from using telehealth and other technology that can support their own health care and getting accurate health care information. In one 2020 study, 42 million Americans lacked adequate access to broadband (high speed internet). As of 2019, about one in five people did not have smartphones, and among low income people nearly one third do not have a smartphone. Rates of computer ownership are not much better. Those patients who do have access to the technology may or may not have the capacity and willingness to use it, depending on past experiences. Some patients aren\'t comfortable with technology, while others don\'t trust it or believe that virtual care is sub-par, despite growing evidence of its benefits. This culminates in a clear digital divide that can hinder the ability for patients to fully engage in their care or take advantage of things like remote patient monitoring, telehealth, mHealth, or patient portal.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,625,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.