Breaking virtual barriers in telemedicine
At the start of the pandemic, the number of patients who used telemedicine for their medical needs skyrocketed. However, the ease of use that many patients love about telemedicine isn’t always that way for other patients, specifically patients who have limited access to technology or limited proficiency in technology or those who prefer a language other than English.
Dr. Adam Jayne-Jensen, clinical assistant professor (General Internal Medicine) and associate medical director for UW Medicine Primary Care, explains that equal access is important because telemedicine offers the ability to provide better care, expands the range of topics you can cover in a visit, and overall adds more value.
“Compared to a phone visit, which is the main alternative to telemedicine, a video visit allows for more connection to the patient,” he says.
While there are several barriers that should be addressed to create equitable access for all patients, the UW Medicine the Digital Health Office is beginning specifically with outreach to patients in their language to focus on that barrier.