At the outset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, health care systems rapidly implemented telehealth services to maintain continuity of type 1 diabetes care. Youth of color are more likely to have suboptimal glycemic control and may benefit most from efforts to ensure continuity of care. However, research examining the perspectives of families of youth of color regarding telehealth for pediatric type 1 diabetes care is limited. We gathered perspectives from youth of color, their caregivers, and health care providers (HCPs) on telehealth for type 1 diabetes care during COVID-19.
Fifty participants (22 caregivers, 19 youth, and nine HCPs) completed semi-structured interviews conducted in English (n = 44) or Spanish (n = 6). Transcripts containing mentions of telehealth (n = 33) were included for qualitative analysis to extract themes pertaining to perceptions of type 1 diabetes care and telehealth use during COVID-19.
Themes related to perceptions, feasibility, and quality of telehealth diabetes care were obtained. Most families had positive perceptions of telehealth. Families and HCPs described logistical and technical challenges and noted the potential for disparities in telehealth access and use. Furthermore, caregivers and HCPs felt that the lack of in-person interaction and limited access to clinical data affected the quality of care.
Families of youth of color with type 1 diabetes mostly had positive perceptions of telehealth but also identified issues with feasibility and quality of care. Our findings highlight a need for interventions promoting equal access to telehealth and quality care for all youth with type 1 diabetes to minimize disruptions in care.