Demographic Data Associated With Digital Inequity Reported in Patient-to-Provider Teledermatology Studies in the United States From 2011 to 2021: Scoping Review
Background: Patient-to-provider teledermatology relies on a patient’s access to technology to ensure a successful visit. However, access to broadband internet and technology varies across populations in the United States—leading to the digital divide. While teledermatology has been recognized as a model to improve access, little is known about how often demographic data associated with digital inequity are captured in studies. Objective: Given the expansion of teledermatology over the past decade, we sought to determine how often demographic data associated with digital inequity are reported in patient-to-provider teledermatology studies. Methods: A scoping literature review search was conducted using the search term teledermatology in the following databases: PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. All studies published between December 31, 2011, and December 31, 2021, that evaluated patient-to-provider teledermatology were eligible. Results: In total, 1412 publications describing teledermatology were identified, of which 46 met the inclusion criteria. Race or ethnicity was the most frequently reported demographic characteristic (28/46, 61%). However, only 41% (19/46) of studies were representative of race or ethnicity, defined as including >20% nonwhite participants. Studies rarely reported the number of participants greater than 65 years of age (14/46, 30%), preferred language (9/46, 20%), income (6/46, 13%), highest level of education (5/46, 11%), or access to a device (4/46, 9%). Studies conducted after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly more likely to report preferred language (9/25, 36% vs 0%; P=.002) and appeared more likely to report other demographic data associated with digital inequity, without reaching statistical significance (P>.05). Conclusions: Demographic data associated with digital inequity are rarely reported in patient-to-provider teledermatology studies to date. These studies frequently lack adequate representation of racial and ethnic minorities. With increased calls for equitable representation in dermatology studies, future teledermatology studies can improve the reporting of race and ethnicity and consider demographic data associated with digital inequity as an important criterion in research design.
Miller, John; Ioffreda, Patrick; Nugent, Shannon; and Jones, Elizabeth, "Demographic Data Associated With Digital Inequity Reported in Patient-to-Provider Teledermatology Studies in the United States From 2011 to 2021: Scoping Review" (2023). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 177.
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This article is the author's final published version in JMIR Dermatology, Volume 6, 2023, Article number e43983.
The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.2196/43983. Copyright ©John Miller, Patrick Ioffreda, Shannon Nugent, Elizabeth Jones. Originally published in JMIR Dermatology (http://derma.jmir.org), 28.02.2023.