Parking Meters to Touch Screens: The Unforeseen Barriers that Expansion of Telemedicine Presents to the Disability Community

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Apr 19. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001771. Online ahead of print.


Over 25% of annual health care expenditures in the United States are associated with the medical needs of people with disabilities. People with disabilities often experience inequalities with access to healthcare services, resulting in increased costs of living with disability. The economic burden of living with a disability results in nearly $400 billion spent annually from combined public and private payor sources. Historically, disparities in healthcare are associated with intersections between race, culture, and environmental factors. Minority status also plays a significant role in health outcomes and studies have highlighted the additional burdens faced at the junction of race and disability status. COVID-19 changed the landscape of healthcare delivery in the United States, resulting in a drastic increase in telehealth utilization. Traditional non-medical barriers to persons with disability, such as unforeseen parking fees, are documented in the literature. However, conditions surrounding access to the necessary technology required to participate in a telehealth driven medical landscape are less clear. This paper addresses the non-medical barriers and costs associated with living with a disability and discusses potential solutions in the evolving healthcare system.

PMID:33871431 | DOI:10.1097/PHM.0000000000001771