Telemedicine barriers and challenges for persons with disabilities: COVID-19 and beyond

Thiru M. Annaswamy, Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, Lex Frieden

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a rapid adoption of telemedicine over traditional in-person visits due to social restrictions. While telemedicine improves access and reduces barriers to healthcare access for many, several barriers and challenges remain for persons with disabilities, and novel challenges have been exposed, many of which may persist long-term. The challenges and barriers that need to be systematically addressed include: Infrastructure and access barriers, operational challenges, regulatory barriers, communication barriers and legislative barriers. Persons with disabilities are a vulnerable population and little attention has been placed on their healthcare access during the pandemic. Access and communication during a healthcare encounter are important mediators of outcomes for persons with disabilities. Significant, long-term changes in technological, regulatory, and legislative infrastructure and custom solutions to unique patient and health system needs are required to address these barriers going forward in order to improve healthcare access and outcomes for persons with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100973
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Disability studies
  • Health legislation
  • Health services accessibility
  • Telemedicine
  • Telerehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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