This project is funded under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s research program, “Health Data for Action (HD4A),” which makes valuable data from unique data owners available to researchers to answer important research questions. The goal of the study is to examine national and regional trends in telehealth uptake and to inform ongoing expansion of telehealth access in the context of broader technological expansion. Using data from the OCHIN-ADVANCE data warehouse, the study seeks to examine differentials in telehealth uptake related to individual and community characteristics, including the digital divide index (DDI) – a quantitative measure of disparity between existing infrastructure and adoption of technology. Ensuring equity in telehealth access is a key step in addressing health disparities in our communities, and health systems and communities alike must have the resources available, and patients need to have the ability to access those resources, for telehealth to effectively meet the needs of all populations. Using data from 2015-2020, the study proposes to: 1) Describe rates of telehealth utilization among safety net patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2) Identify geographic patterns of telehealth uptake. For aim 1, the research team will generate descriptive statistics to illustrate unadjusted numeric trends in telehealth utilization over time. For aim 2, they will merge DDI data with the OCHIN-ADVANCE dataset to then be analyzed as random effect cluster-level variables. Through this, the research team will examine how community-level factors are associated with telehealth uptake. Deliverables will include a project work plan and final narrative report. The researchers will also produce paper(s) suitable for publication and present findings at national research meetings and to other stakeholder audiences as appropriate, including policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels and other key stakeholders, as part of the deliverables for this grant.

Grant #78963
Grantee Organization: Massachusetts General Hospital
Grantee period: 12/1/2021– 11/14/2023

Principal Investigators:

Salhi headshot

Rama Salhi, M.D., M.H.S.

Emergency Physician and National Clinician Scholar at the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation - University of Michigan

Dr. Salhi is an Emergency Physician and National Clinician Scholar in the Institute for Health Policy and Inno... Read Bio

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Kori S. Zachrison, M.D., MSc

Associate Professor - Massachusetts General Hospital

Kori S. Zachrison, MD, MSc, is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MG... Read Bio