In the U.S. not everyone has access to the health care they need. People with the least access are often those most impacted by diabetes. Virtual health care increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the quality and accessibility of virtual health care varies. For instance, during the pandemic, people with health disparities (such as minority populations) have had the most difficulty accessing virtual health care. Barriers to virtual health care include not having health insurance and not having the right equipment (such as smartphone, computer, internet connection), and lack of information in one’s native language. Some people are also worried about the privacy of their information.
How do we achieve health equity?
By following the three steps below, virtual health care may help us move towards health equity for people with diabetes:
- First, we must build trust. Many patients worry about their privacy, including who knows about their health conditions and what they will do with this information.
- Second, data should be easy to access. Often, people have to access many portals. This makes it more complicated for users.
- Third, the virtual health care system should increase people’s confidence in their ability to successfully use the system. In the past, virtual health care was designed for experts, without thinking about people’s different levels of knowledge and comfort using virtual platforms. It should be user-friendly and easy for all to use.
To make virtual health care helpful for everyone, we need to build user trust, create easy access, and encourage self-confidence using it. By following these three steps, virtual health care can allow every person with diabetes to reach their full health potential.