Disparities in Access to Teledermatology During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Detroit, Michigan

Main Article Content

Angela Jiang
Reem Kashlan
Christine Joseph
Amy Tang
Henry Lim


COVID-19, Telemedicine, Teledermatology, Health Disparities, Access, Health Equity


Background: Teledermatology became a necessary modality for dermatologic patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to disparities in access to technology, “The Digital Divide” refers to worsening health care disparities despite telemedicine’s best efforts to improve access.

Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed of all patients who were scheduled to be seen in dermatology during the first wave of pandemic (March 27, 2020 to April 27, 2020). Demographic characteristics of patients who pursued virtual visits was compared with those who did not.

Results: Compared to patients who canceled office visits, patients who completed virtual visit appointments were more likely to be younger (mean age 37.8 versus 45.5 years), female (68.7% versus 62.9%, p=0.01), unmarried (68.7% versus 61.0%, p<0.01). Of the diagnoses rendered during virtual visits, 53.3% were associated with dermatoses.

Conclusions: Patient populations above the age of 65 were less likely to complete a video visit, regardless of socioeconomic factors. Future policies must take marginalized populations into account to improve ease of access to technological services.


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