Digital Health Products Can Reduce Healthcare Disparities - If We Take Action

Digital Health Products Can Reduce Healthcare Disparities - If We Take Action

63% of people of color intend to use digital apps and telehealth more going forward but 36%-54% of healthcare providers say that their patients from low-income households do not have the means to access telehealth easily. While there is potential for digital health to be the vehicle in which we can move toward a more equitable healthcare system, addressing gaps in care to achieve greater equality will require multifaceted solutions and collaboration to create and implement meaningful and sustainable change. Literacy: While patients may have access to more of their health information because of digital platforms such as telehealth and online portals, digital literacy is a prevalent barrier that blocks many patients from these services. There needs to be a thoughtful approach to user experience, site design, and navigation systems to ensure these platforms are accessible to patients with low digital literacy. A standardized approach to reimbursement and coverage for digital health is an important start to ensuring wider access to crucial digitally enabled technologies and remote healthcare related services. Healthcare design expert Kim Erwin and population health expert Jerry Krishnan have noted that “the key is to shift our focus from helping people to fit our care delivery system, to one where we design our care delivery system to fit people where they live, work, learn, play, and receive healthcare.” Technological advances make it possible for us to rethink and redesign healthcare systems in ways that both deliver care more effectively and promote greater health equity for patients. We believe that the future of healthcare is headed in the right direction and as long as we harness the power of digital health technologies we can shift toward a more equitable healthcare system where patients everywhere can access high-quality care that results in better health and improved outcomes.

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