Targeted populations

When exploring solutions to bridge the digital divide, it is essential to include measures for both providers and patients. Previous research has examined several issues preventing underserved populations from optimally accessing and utilizing Telehealth services. Disparities and barriers have been established in numerous populations, including the elderly, low SES urban populations and rural populations. Across the populations described, research established that the two components that are at the roots of access and use disparities are low connectivity and a lack of familiarity and knowledge of health IT. The implications, in terms of health outcomes, are well-established, and broadband access at home has been called a Social Determinant of Health (Perzynski et. al, 2017).

Individuals who have low or limited health literacy are at a greater risk of poor health outcomes. According to a study by Berkman et. al (2011), these poor health outcomes are also associated with improper use of medication, poor ability to interpret medical advice or results, and higher mortality. Low health literacy is also associated with the use of health care services (Berkman, 2011). Therefore, patients who have a limited understanding of their diagnosis or symptoms may not seek out the proper care they require.