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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2012, Article ID 715194, 9 pages
Research Article

How Do Low-Income Urban African Americans and Latinos Feel about Telemedicine? A Diffusion of Innovation Analysis

1Center for Biomedical Informatics, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, 2594 Industry Way, Lynwood, CA 90262, USA
2Department of Psychiatry, UCLA and VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 11301 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA
3College of Medicine, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, 1731 E. 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA

Received 13 January 2012; Accepted 31 July 2012

Academic Editor: Yunan Chen

Copyright © 2012 Sheba George et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Telemedicine is promoted as a means to increase access to specialty medical care among the urban underserved, yet little is known about its acceptability among these populations. We used components of a diffusion of innovation conceptual framework to analyze preexperience perceptions about telemedicine to assess its appeal among urban underserved African Americans and Latinos. Methods. Ten focus groups were conducted with African American ( 𝑛 = 4 3 ) and Latino participants ( 𝑛 = 4 4 ) in both English and Spanish and analyzed for key themes. Results. Both groups perceived increased and immediate access to multiple medical opinions and reduced wait time as relative advantages of telemedicine. However, African Americans expressed more concerns than Latinos about confidentiality, privacy, and the physical absence of the specialist. This difference may reflect lower levels of trust in new health care innovations among African Americans resulting from a legacy of past abuses in the US medical system as compared to immigrant Latinos who do not have this particular historical backdrop. Conclusions. These findings have implications for important issues such as adoption of telemedicine, patient satisfaction, doctor-patient interactions, and the development and tailoring of strategies targeted to each of these populations for the introduction, marketing, and implementation of telemedicine.