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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019: 3:30 PM
Truman - Mezzanine Level (Marriott Wardman Park Hotel)

Presenter: Jeongyoung Park

Co-Authors: Clese Erikson; Xinxin Han

Discussant: Zhiyou Yang

Using four years of a nationally representative consumer survey, we examined trends in telehealth usage over time, as well as the role state telehealth policies play in telehealth use when controlling for population characteristics. Telehealth use increased dramatically over the period of 2013-2016, with new modes such as live video, live chat, texting, and mobile apps gaining traction across all population groups. The rate of live video communication rose from 6.6% in June 2013 to 21.6% in December 2016. However, underserved populations such as Medicaid beneficiaries, uninsured, low income, and rural populations did not use live video communication as widely as others. Favorable state telehealth policies, such as parity of coverage, were not associated with increased usage. This study suggests state efforts alone to remove barriers to using telehealth may not be sufficient for increasing use by underserved populations and new incentives for providers to offer telehealth may be needed.

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