JAMA study warns telemedicine not suitable for 38% of patients over 65

Whilst telemedicine could be owning a increase, a new study published in JAMA warns that it could not be ideal for every person. 

The study, which appeared at facts from grownups about the age of 65, discovered that about a third of people weren’t prepared for online video visits. Researchers sited problems ranging from problems in hearing to tech problems. 

“Although lots of more mature grownups are prepared and capable to learn to use telemedicine, an equitable wellness system should figure out that for some, these kinds of as individuals with dementia and social isolation, in-man or woman visits are presently tricky and telemedicine could be not possible,” authors of the study wrote. “For these patients, clinics and geriatric types of care these kinds of as property visits are necessary.”

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The study approximated that 38% of the13 million seniors in the U.S. are not prepared for digital visits, generally simply because of inexperience with know-how. That range dropped to 32% if they were being offered social support for how to set up the simply call. 

Phone visits also posed a obstacle for an approximated twenty% of individuals about the age of 65, according to scientists, who attribute this obstacle largely to hearing problems. 


Researchers performed a cross-sectional study employing facts from the 2018 Nationwide Overall health and Getting older Traits Research. According to scientists, the study is “nationally agent of Medicare beneficiaries aged about 65 or more mature.”

Researchers then appeared for markers that would make these patients unready to use telemedicine. These markers incorporated problems hearing on the mobile phone, even with aids issues in speech or producing oneself understood suspected dementia visual difficulties lack of access to internet-linked product and not employing e mail, texts, or internet inside of a month. 

A whole of 4,525 more mature grownups were being incorporated in the study. Of individuals, 43% were being guys and 57% were being women of all ages. The normal age was 79.six. The the vast majority of individuals were being white (sixty nine%), but also incorporated Black (21%) and Latinx (six%) folks. 4 % discovered as “other,” which incorporated lots of backgrounds these kinds of as American Indian, Asian Native Hawaiian and folks of additional than just one race. 


In the previous several months, telemedicine has grown in level of popularity thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The know-how is not only getting additional mainstream, but also long lasting. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed an govt buy to make long lasting the momentary flexibilities for telehealth allowed throughout the peak of the pandemic. This means that Medicare will protect telehealth visits at no supplemental cost and that co-payments can be waved for the solutions. Whilst the solutions could be additional easily out there, this study questions whether or not every person is prepared for the change. 

“There has been a massive shift to telemedicine throughout the coronavirus sickness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to secure clinical staff and patients, with the Department of Overall health and Human Solutions and others advertising online video visits to reach patients at property,” authors of the study wrote. “Video visits involve patients to have the information and capacity to get on the internet, run and troubleshoot audiovisual devices, and connect without the need of the cues out there in man or woman.”