White patients were screened for Covid-19 more often than their peers of other races during the pandemic, a new study suggests.
A research team led by members of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute analyzed health data at Hennepin Healthcare, a safety net hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to measure when people were tested for COVID-19 based on a variety of demographic factors.
Researchers found that white patients were significantly more likely to receive a Covid-19 test than all other racial groups when they made a doctor’s visit via telehealth, accounting for 64.5 percent of all tests.
Black patients received just nine percent of the Covid-19 screenings conducted by telehealth, while accounting for 45 percent of the tests conducted in an emergency department.
White patients were more likely to contract less severe cases of Covid-19 as they were screened earlier at home via telehealth
Data from study shows white patients were more likely to be screened for Covid via telehealth, while black patients were more likely to be screened at the emergency room
Black and white patients had an equal chance of receiving a Covid-19 screening in a clinical setting, respecting 35.7 percent and 37.6 percent.
Researchers noted that patients who underwent their tests in an emergency room or hospital setting were more likely to require more intensive treatment because their case of the virus was discovered later than those who were screened through telehealth.
There was also a huge difference across the board in testing, depending on the patient’s primary language.
Patients who speak English received a majority of screenings, regardless of setting, including a whopping 88 percent of screenings conducted through telehealth and nearly 70 percent of tests overall.
While the results of the test are limited — they represent only one hospital system and don’t adjust the results for the total population — researchers fear that telehealth could widen an existing racial gap in medical coverage.
Telehealth became the primary way many received healthcare during the Covid-19 pandemic as lockdowns closed many clinics to non-emergency visits.
As the pandemic draws to a close, many experts believe that telehealth is an enduring factor and may remain the medium through which many routine doctor visits are conducted.
according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), visits to telehealth in the early stages of the pandemic increased by 50 percent.
The shift in medical care raged around $29 billion also in income for healthcare providers.
The CDC notes that not all Americans have equal access to health care, and inequalities in the U.S. health care system were exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic
However, there are many health problems that arise with telecare.
Not all Americans have access to the stable internet connection needed to access telehealth.
There is also a problem with insurers not knowing how to bill the visits correctly, although many states, such as Illinois, have passed laws regulating telehealth visits as normal doctor visits in terms of insurance and billing, preventing patients from visiting them by their health care provider. insurance will be refused.
Researchers may have found another potential difference in this study as more research is being done on the system that could be the future of medical care.
Health equity in Covid-19 testing was also an issue early in the pandemic, with the CDC report that ethnic minorities often faced barriers such as discrimination, transportation, lack of health care, and more in order not to gain the same access as their white counterparts.
Many disadvantaged, mainly minority communities, were also left without the needed supply of to test early in the pandemic.
The full study is available Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.