There are disparities in access to the internet among those with chronic health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, according to a research letter published online Nov. 2 in Diabetes Care.
Vardhmaan Jain, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2016 to 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess disparities in access to the internet among individuals with chronic medical conditions (diabetes and hypertension) and minority patients (Blacks and Hispanics versus Whites).
The researchers found that among 910,655 participants, the prevalence of internet use was lower for those with hypertension versus without (74 versus 89 percent; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.99; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.94 to 1.04) and for those with diabetes versus without (65 versus 86 percent; aOR, 0.89; 95 percent CI, 0.85 to 0.93). Among those with hypertension or diabetes, the prevalence of internet use among Whites was 77 percent compared with 62 percent in Blacks and 56 percent in Hispanics. Compared with Whites, the aOR for internet use by race was 0.49 for Blacks (95 percent CI, 0.44 to 0.53) and 0.58 for Hispanics (95 percent CI, 0.51 to 0.66). Lastly, frequent internet users were more likely to be White, educated, employed, and younger and to have health care coverage.
“Efforts are needed to mitigate these disparities to ensure equitable care delivery across the United States,” the authors write.