Addressing the digital inverse care law in the time of COVID-19: potential for digital technology to exacerbate or mitigate health inequalities

J Med Internet Res. 2021 Mar 17. doi: 10.2196/21726. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Digital technologies have been transforming the ways in which health care is delivered, and have been embraced within the health, social and public response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this has brought the “digital inverse care law” and digital inequalities into sharp focus, as those who are most in need of support (in particular older people and people experiencing social deprivation) are often those who are the least likely to engage with digital platforms. The response to COVID-19 represents a sustained shift to adopting digital approaches to working and engaging with populations which will continue beyond this pandemic. Therefore it is important that we understand the underlying factors contributing to digital inequalities, and act now to protect against digital inequality contributing to health inequalities in the future.

PMID:33735096 | DOI:10.2196/21726