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Internet Access and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Using Internet Health Resources

Working Paper Number SEHSD-WP2017-31
Jamie M. Lewis
Component ID: #ti14051359

Racial/ethnic disparities in health care and outcomes persist, as do gaps in the use of eHealth resources. Increased Internet access—including through smartphones and mobile broadband—has the potential to expand use of these resources among racial/ethnic minorities. In this work, I explore the use of eHealth materials using representative data from the 2015 Current Population Survey Computer and Internet Use Supplement. I find that racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to use eHealth resources, and that these disparities are not fully explained by differences in Internet access. Those with access through a smartphone only lag behind those with a home connection or both types of connections. I further find that various types of Internet access similarly impact eHealth resource use among different racial/ethnic groups. Policymakers interested in promoting use of these resources by minorities, thereby helping reduce broader health disparities, should emphasize the importance of both home-based and mobile Internet access.

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