Marianne Matthias, PhD, talks about ensuring equity in access to telehealth.
Looking at what we found just adds a note of caution that as telehealth is being used more and more, we just need to make sure nobody gets left behind. And we need to make sure that it is used in an equitable way and that people are having relatively even experiences across different racial groups as well as potentially rural groups and things like that.
Johanne Eliacin, PhD, discusses the rich detail and experiences captured by qualitative research.
There has been a number of quantitative studies during the pandemic looking at access to care but not a lot of qualitative studies, and qualitative research answers different questions than quantitative studies, and we really wanted to get our patients’ experiences, to learn about their lived experiences, to hear about how they are managing their care from their own words, to capture a level of rich detail and experiences that we can’t really access using quantitative methods and also learn from these interviews to identify how we can improve care for Black veterans with chronic pain.
I don’t think there’s one reason to pinpoint to say that’s why most people had negative experiences with access to care during the pandemic. For some participants this was a very new experience. They never used telehealth services prior to the pandemic, and it takes some time to get adjusted to it. And there are also some barriers to even access telehealth services. We have to think about how comfortable people were, how literate they were with the telehealth methods, whether they had the bandwidth and the access and the confidence to use the services. People have different preferences in the way they want to interact with their providers.