DOI: 10.1177/20552076231218840 ISSN: 2055-2076

Equity and use of telehealth modalities among people living with HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic

Hannah Carson, Karen H. Wang, Hyung Paek, Pamela Hoffman, Andrew Arakaki, Rosana Gonzalez-Colaso, Lydia A Barakat, Merceditas Villanueva, Julie A Womack
  • Health Information Management
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy


COVID-19 forced a rapid transition to telehealth. Little is known about the use of telephone versus video visits among people living with or at risk for HIV (PWH).


We studied electronic health record data from an urban HIV clinic. Our sample included visit- and person-level data. Visit-level data came from appointments scheduled from 30 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. Person-level data came from patients 18+ years of age who completed at least one telephone or video visit during the period of interest.


We performed a cross-sectional analysis. Our primary outcome was telehealth modality (telephone or video). We compared visit completion status by telehealth modality. We evaluated associations between patient characteristics and telehealth modality using logistic regression.


In total, 1742 visits included information on telehealth modality: 1432 telephone (82%) and 310 (18%) video visits. 77% of telephone visits were completed compared to 75% of video visits ( p = 0.449). The clinic recorded 643 completed telehealth visits in April and 623 in May 2020. The proportion of telephone visits decreased from 84% in April to 79% in May ( p = 0.031). Most patients participated in telephone versus video visits (415 vs. 88 patients). Older age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.37–7.82) and Black race (AOR 2.42; 95% CI, 1.20–4.49) were positively associated with telephone visits. Patient portal enrollment (AOR 0.06; 95% CI, 0.02–0.16) was negatively associated with telephone visits.


PWH used telephone more than video visits, suggesting that telephone visits are a vital healthcare resource for this population.

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