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Hispanic, Asian Cancer Patients Used Telehealth Less Than White Peers


January 12, 2022

Anuja Vaidya

Hispanic, Asian Cancer Patients Used Telehealth Less Than White Peers

Compared to white cancer patients, Hispanic patients were 14 percent less likely and Asian patients were 21 percent less likely to use telehealth, a new study reveals.

A glaring divide exists in telehealth use between white cancer patients and those who are racial minorities, according to a new study.

The study, published in Cancer Medicine, examined patterns of outpatient oncology care and telemedicine use among all cancer patients within the University of California San Diego Health System. Researchers analyzed 29,421 patient encounters among 8,997 patients treated between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2020. This includes a period before and after UC San Diego Health's telemedicine expansion, which began on March 16, 2020.

Of the 8,997 patients, 61 percent were non-Hispanic white, 50 percent were in the top quartile of median household income, and 87 percent noted that their preferred language was English.

Telehealth accounted for 52 percent of all cancer patient visits in April 2020, which was the peak of telehealth usage at UC San Diego Health. By September, telehealth use by cancer patients had stabilized, accounting for 34 percent of all encounters.

During study period, 8,541 patient encounters occurred via telemedicine, of which 7,061 (83 percent) were conducted via video, and 1,480 (17 percent) over the telephone.