Telehealth and other digital modes of care have been widely introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have enabled access to healthcare while reducing community transmission and keeping patients and practitioners safe. However, the benefits of telehealth are not evenly distributed, and may perpetuate some forms of disadvantage.
While the ‘digital divide’ is often understood in socioeconomic terms or geographic terms, the reasons for digital exclusion among older people may vary. The aim of this article is to explore what is known about this issue.
Emerging insights from the pandemic suggest that there may be multiple reasons why older people are not able to effectively access or engage with health technologies despite their availability. These barriers should inform ongoing efforts to develop telehealth services that meet population needs and sustain their use beyond the pandemic.