In a new pre-print paper for the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers have discovered that cancer survivors, particularly rural patients and older patients, are less likely to have access to telehealth services. On top of that, the study showed that patients enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid were less likely to be offered telehealth services at all.

From the paper: “Cancer survivors are likely to be particularly vulnerable to access to care obstacles associated with COVID-19: they tend to be older and may have comorbidities and/or immunosuppression that heightens both risk and consequences of infection. As a result, telehealth can provide particular benefit by reducing logistical barriers to timely cancer-related care. Prior research has identified barriers to successful telehealth use for adults generally, including lack of computer and internet access, and limited digital literacy skills needed to negotiate video log-on processes.”

The results highlighted the disparity; 53% of rural cancer survivors who were covered by Medicare reported that telehealth services were available through their health care providers. 63% of urban respondents said the same.

To read the rest of the pre-print, click here.

SOURCE: The Rural Blog, JMIR Publications