Essay on Online Telemedicine Services Is Not Equal Across The General Population

Essay on Online Telemedicine Services Is Not Equal Across The General Population

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In 2012 The Eight Broadband Progress Report was released by the FCC. This report indicates that about 6% of the population or 19 million people still lack broadband internet access with a majority from rural, tribal, and urban minority neighborhoods. (Federal Communications Commission. (August 2012). Eighth Broadband Progress Report FCC 12-90.Washington, D.C. The Commission. Retrieved from http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-90A1.pdf) . With 59% of adults in the US looking for health information online it is the third most popular online activity behind email and search engines. (Fox, S., & Duggan, M. (January 15, 2013). Health online 2013. Pew Research Internet Project. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Health-online.aspx)


Access to and use of online telemedicine services is not equal across the general population in the USA. A digital divide is an economic and social inequality in access, use and impact of information technologies. It will become more critical as the amount and variety of health resources available over the Internet increase and as people need more sophisticated skills to use electronic resources. Health literacy is increasingly vital to help people navigate a complex health system and better manage their own health. Differences in the ability to read and understand materials related to personal health as well as navigate the health system appear to contribute to health disparities. People with low health literacy are more likely to report poor health, have an incomplete understanding of their health problems and treatment, and be at greater risk of hospitalization. (Baker, D.W.; Parker, R.M.; Williams, M.V.; et al. The relationship of patient reading ability to self-reported...


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...est that low literacy is an increasing problem among certain racial and ethnic groups, non-English-speaking populations, and persons over age 65 years. One study of Medicare enrollees found that 34 percent of English speakers and 54 percent of Spanish speakers had inadequate or marginal health literacy. Gazmararian, J.A.; Baker, D.W.; Williams, M.V.; et al. Health literacy among Medicare enrollees in a managed care organization. Journal of the American Medical Association 281:545-551, 1999. PubMed; PMID 10022111 Telemedicine services targeted at patients that may have low literacy levels or language barriers should design systems that try to mitigate these barriers such as multiple language options, translations of health records, simplified language. Clinicians should offer extra support for individuals to make sure they understand the information and the systems.

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