WTF Fun Fact 13142 – Use of Telemedicine in the U.S.

Telemedicine use skyrocketed during the pandemic, and now it seems poised to become a regular part of the healthcare landscape. A CDC report from October 2022 revealed just how much Americans relied on telemedicine in the previous year.

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of electronic means (telephones, text messages, voice and video chats, etc.) to deliver healthcare to patients remotely. While it may occasionally involve in-office testing, most of the doctor-patient relationship takes place over a device like a phone or a computer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic State of Emergency, the U.S. expanded legislation to allow more providers to deliver a broader range of care options via telemedicine. Healthcare providers had been relatively limited in what they could do for patients without seeing them in person before this.

A CDC report using 2021 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data to assess the use of telemedicine provided interesting insight into just how many Americans over age 18 took advantage of what it had to offer in the second year of the pandemic.

The rise of telemedicine use

In 2021, 37% of American adults reported using telemedicine in the previous 12 months.

The report also found that the older people were, the more likely they were to use it. On some level, that makes sense since older people are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID. However, it hasn’t often been the case that technology use increases with age in the past.

Women were also more likely to use telemedicine. 42% of women said they used it in 2021, compared to 31.7% of men. (However, women are more likely to see doctors than men.)

Other statistics

Adults in the U.S. West were the most likely to use telemedicine, and those in the Midwest were the least likely.

Telemedicine use increased with patients’ urbanization level – those living in large metropolitan areas were more likely to use it. This is interesting because the technology was initially used to reach those who lived far from hospitals and clinics. However, during the pandemic, people in urban areas may have been more reluctant to head to hospitals and seek care due to crowded public transportation and waiting rooms.

Those with a GED or higher education level were also more likely to get on the phone or computer to “visit” their doctor. As education levels go up, so does the use of this technology.

And while those with a below-average or average income are equally likely to engage with healthcare providers electronically, its use increases among those with higher incomes.

It appears that if telemedicine is going to be part of the future of medicine, it will be important to ensure a broader range of people have access to it and knowledge about its benefits.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Telemedicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2021” —

WTF Fun Fact 12410 – The Donda West Law

The Donda West Law, also known as Assembly Bill #1116, us an act added to Sections 1638.2 and 2259.8 of the California Business and Professions Code, relating to cosmetic surgery. It was approved by the Governor on October 11, 2009. 

It reads, in part:

“This bill would enact the Donda West Law, which would prohibit the performance of an elective cosmetic surgery procedure on a patient unless, within 30 days prior to the procedure, the patient has received an appropriate physical examination by, and has received written clearance for the procedure from, a licensed physician and surgeon, a certified nurse practitioner, or a licensed physician assistant, as specified, or, as applied to an elective facial cosmetic surgery procedure, a licensed dentist or licensed physician and surgeon. The bill would require the physical examination to include the taking of an appropriate medical history, to be confirmed on the day of the procedure. The bill would also provide that a violation of these provisions would not constitute a crime.”

Donda West died on November 10, 2007, at age 58, the day after undergoing cosmetic surgery. following heart problems. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said that her death was due to coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors from cosmetic surgery. The LAPD investigated her death further after learning that her doctor had settled two large malpractice cases and had convictions for alcohol-related offenses. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Assembly Bill #1116 – The California Legislature