Patient connectivity with healthcare professionals and health insurer using digital health technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic: a German cross-sectional study

Autor(en): Hannemann, Niels
Goetz, Nina-Alexandra
Schmidt, Lisa
Huebner, Ursula
Babitsch, Birgit 
Stichwörter: COVID-19; Digital divide; Digital literacy; e-Health app; Health inequalities; Health literacy; INTERNET; Medical Informatics; Pandemic; SOCIAL-STATUS
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Herausgeber: BMC
Volumen: 21
Ausgabe: 1
Background Digital health technologies enable patients to make a personal contribution to the improvement of their health by enabling them to manage their health. In order to exploit the potential of digital health technologies, Internet-based networking between patients and health care providers is required. However, this networking and access to digital health technologies are less prevalent in sociodemographically deprived cohorts. The paper explores how the use of digital health technologies, which connect patients with health care providers and health insurers has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods The data from a German-based cross-sectional online study conducted between April 29 and May 8, 2020, were used for this purpose. A total of 1.570 participants were included in the study. Accordingly, the influence of sociodemographic determinants, subjective perceptions, and personal competencies will affect the use of online booking of medical appointments and medications, video consultations with providers, and the data transmission to health insurers via an app. Results The highest level of education (OR 1.806) and the presence of a chronic illness (OR 1.706) particularly increased the likelihood of using online booking. With regard to data transmission via an app to a health insurance company, the strongest increase in the probability of use was shown by belonging to the highest subjective social status (OR 1.757) and generation Y (OR 2.303). Furthermore, the results show that the higher the subjectively perceived restriction of the subjects' life situation was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher the relative probability of using online booking (OR 1.103) as well as data transmission via an app to a health insurance company (OR 1.113). In addition, higher digital literacy contributes to the use of online booking (OR 1.033) and data transmission via an app to the health insurer (OR 1.034). Conclusions Socially determined differences can be identified for the likelihood of using digital technologies in health care, which persist even under restrictive conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the results indicate a digital divide with regard to the technologies investigated in this study.
DOI: 10.1186/s12911-021-01605-8

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