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

Even though telemedicine could be getting a growth, a new research revealed in JAMA warns that it could not be acceptable for absolutely everyone. 

The research, which seemed at info from older people about the age of 65, uncovered that about a 3rd of persons weren’t prepared for movie visits. Scientists sited difficulties ranging from difficulty in listening to to tech difficulties. 

“Although numerous more mature older people are inclined and in a position to study to use telemedicine, an equitable overall health method should acknowledge that for some, this sort of as individuals with dementia and social isolation, in-man or woman visits are by now hard and telemedicine could be unachievable,” authors of the research wrote. “For these sufferers, clinics and geriatric types of care this sort of as residence visits are necessary.”

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The research estimated that 38% of the13 million seniors in the U.S. are not prepared for virtual visits, generally due to the fact of inexperience with technologies. That number dropped to 32% if they were offered social guidance for how to set up the connect with. 

Phone visits also posed a challenge for an estimated twenty% of individuals about the age of 65, in accordance to researchers, who attribute this challenge largely to listening to difficulties. 


Scientists conducted a cross-sectional research using info from the 2018 Countrywide Wellness and Ageing Trends Research. According to researchers, the research is “nationally representative of Medicare beneficiaries aged about 65 or more mature.”

Scientists then seemed for markers that would make these sufferers unready to use telemedicine. These markers provided difficulty listening to on the cell phone, even with aids issues in speech or producing oneself understood suspected dementia visual difficulties lack of entry to web-related machine and not using e-mail, texts, or web inside of a thirty day period. 

A overall of 4,525 more mature older people were provided in the research. Of individuals, forty three% were guys and fifty seven% were women of all ages. The ordinary age was 79.6. The greater part of contributors were white (69%), but also provided Black (21%) and Latinx (6%) persons. 4 % identified as “other,” which provided numerous backgrounds this sort of as American Indian, Asian Indigenous Hawaiian and persons of far more than a single race. 


Within the very last couple of months, telemedicine has grown in attractiveness because of to the coronavirus pandemic. The technologies is not only becoming far more mainstream, but also long-lasting. Earlier this 7 days, President Donald Trump signed an government buy to make long-lasting the short-term flexibilities for telehealth authorized throughout the peak of the pandemic. This implies that Medicare will protect telehealth visits at no further cost and that co-payments can be waved for the solutions. Even though the solutions could be far more commonly offered, this research issues no matter if absolutely everyone is prepared for the improve. 

“There has been a massive change to telemedicine throughout the coronavirus sickness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to shield medical staff and sufferers, with the Division of Wellness and Human Services and other folks marketing movie visits to attain sufferers at residence,” authors of the research wrote. “Video visits need sufferers to have the expertise and ability to get on-line, run and troubleshoot audiovisual machines, and connect without having the cues offered in man or woman.”