What is it?
Digital inequity, also known as the digital divide, refers to the economic, educational, and sociocultural disparities that arise from inadequate access to and utilization of technology. Without access to technology, disparities in education, employment, housing, and health care worsen, leading to a cyclical pattern of inequality. Technology access also impacts the type and quality of care patients are able to receive, especially as more care is delivered via technology such as telehealth platforms.
Barriers in access to digital health platforms include poor digital literacy, disabilities, lower income, and limited English proficiency. Larger, structural challenges to the digital divide include geographic isolation, broadband capacity, and lack of technical hardware needed for virtual health care access.