With the accelerated emergence of telehealth systems being deployed with promises to access unreachable populations in today’s socially distant environment, it is increasingly important to understand the barriers that underprivileged populations face when trying to access healthcare through digital platforms. This research investigates the use of telehealth in social and cultural sub-populations, focusing on how the diverse student population at Arizona State University (ASU) use the recently-launched ASU Telehealth system. Statistical analysis of demographic factors spanning the five categories of social determinants of health were coupled with population studies of the ASU student body to evaluate the reach of services and patient diversity across telehealth and in person health platforms. Results show that insurance, racial and international student identity influence the percentage of students within these demographic categories Also, though the ASU Telehealth patient body reflects ASU’s general student population, the platform did not increase the reach of Health Services and the magnitude of students served. using ASU Telehealth. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to determine the validity and reliability of these findings. However, the findings and background research point to targeted marketing campaigns, intentional policy decision-making, post-pandemic telehealth resilience, and the continuation of quantitative and qualitative data collection as means to expand the impact and equity of ASU Telehealth into future iterations of the platform. Outputs of this study include web communication materials and qualitative data collection mechanisms for future use and implementation by ASU Health Services.
- Socio-Cultural Evaluation of Student Access to Emerging Telehealth Systems at Arizona State University with Clinical Suggestions