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Telemedicine is subject to the same racial disparities as in-person care, according to a report published in the Journal of Informatics in Health and Biomedicine.

Why it matters: Health care providers and the Trump administration have heralded telemedicine as the great equalizer for Americans, but big gaps in access still persist.

Where it stands: The racial disparity in telemedicine shrank during the pandemic, but it's still sizable, according to the study, which analyzed more than 140,000 telemedicine records between March and April, the of the peak pandemic in New York City.

  • 13% of Black New Yorkers used telemedicine in that period, according to the study — up from just 8% a year earlier.
  • But nearly half the white population in NYC already used telehealth before the pandemic. The percentage decreased slightly in 2020.

Between the lines: The pre-existing digital divide will limit telehealth's ability to overcome the racial disparities baked into the health care system overall, the study says.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 8, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of health care payments

On Tuesday, November 9 Axios' Caitlin Owens and Sam Baker hosted a conversation on the future of health care payments, featuring New Enterprise Associates Head of Global Healthcare Mohamad Makhzoumi and Cedar Co-founder and CEO, Florian Otto.

Florian Otto discussed the obstacles to creating a seamless health care payment system and the systemic problems that challenge American health care.

  • On the scope of medical billing's communication problem: "Millions of patients have the same problem: they don't understand the medical bills, they don't get the medical bill, and they land in collections for no real reason. It's really interesting to see that out of the 50 million people and have a bad credit score because of medical debt.
  • On the three key issues in the American healthcare system: "The first big problem is that patients don't really know what they are owed before the visit...The second is the tools and systems that these health care systems use...The third is all this insurance eligibility, determining the co-payment, the coinsurance and the deductible."

Mohamad Makhzoumi discussed how the health care has been impacted by COVID-19 and its acceleration of trends across the industry.

  • On how the pandemic has changed health care: "It's advancing a lot of the trends that have that had been growing but not penetrating health care to a large extent. You think about virtual care and you think about virtual pharmacy, you think about tech disintermediation inside of health care. You think about consumer choice and advocacy."
  • On disruption in the healthcare system: "Primary care is the front door for health care. It's how most of us as Americans access downstream health care, how we get to specialists...That is a part of the healthcare continuum that had yet to be disrupted."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Waystar CEO Matt Hawkins, who unpacked simplifying health care payments and his belief in positively changing the industry.

  • "There are a lot of smart people focused on improving the way health care is administered in the United States. And as we all have seen, there's a lot of private equity and venture capital investments being made in transforming health care as it exists today. So I'm confident that we're going to make tremendous progress more than we've ever made in the next three to five years."

Thank you Waystar for sponsoring this event.

19 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
20 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”