Framing eHealth Design on Critical Race Theory to Mitigate Barriers in Access to Healthcare

Framing eHealth Design on Critical Race Theory to Mitigate Barriers in Access to Healthcare

Christina B. Gunther, Bronwyn Cross-Denny, Melanie M. Reyes, Danielle Provenzano
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9490-2.ch003
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The importance of telehealth applications reached a critical nature during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Telehealth allowed for a continuum of care while maintaining patient satisfaction during times of complete lockdown, quarantine, or isolation. The likelihood of a full audio-video telehealth visit for Black patients or those on Medicaid, however, was reduced. In fact, the Black patient population experienced two-times the rate of incomplete visits or telephone only visits compared to non-Hispanic White patients. Rivera et al. identified several significant barriers. Platform and portal designers must consider these barriers when creating telehealth tools. Framing the design on critical race theory can work towards equity in access to telehealth services.
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In order to frame solutions through a CRT lens to address the digital divide in ehealth for vulnerable, marginalized populations, a background is offered to understand these various components. A brief description of CRT is important, especially given the controversy that surrounds it in current political circles (Gibbons & Ray, 2021). Understanding the advantages of ehealth access as well as the structural barriers for vulnerable communities provides a foundation for envisioning and implementing solutions to increase access to healthcare. Populations that are most impacted are discussed: Native Americans, rural communities, Black/Latino communities, lower socioeconomic status, and global communities.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology Gap: Differences between individuals who use computers and other technology and those who do not.

Telehealth: The delivery of healthcare services in a virtual or remote manner most typically via video conferencing.

Telemedicine: The act of a healthcare provider diagnosing and treating a patient virtually or remotely.

Digital Divide: The gap between individuals who have access to computers, broadband service, and other technologies and those who do not.

Critical Race Theory: A theory and social movement that provides a multi-perspective racial approach to social structures and services.

Equity: Addressing imbalances in equality so that all populations have the resources needed to reach equal access to healthcare.

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