Addressing Health Inequities with Digital Technology

Inequity in healthcare is a real problem and some industry sectors are starting to pay much more attention to its implications on people and communities. Thankfully, digital technologies are working to address inequities by engaging the community and partners early on to design and develop solutions. 

In order to be successful, these technologies need to not only work collaboratively, but also be sure they don’t strengthen the existing inequities. 

There are several ways that digital technologies can help close the health inequity gap;  below are three significant factors of health inequity that they can help address:

Access to reliable health information

Patients around the world need access to trusted and accurate health information. Digital technology has a massive opportunity to provide up-to-date and reliable health information on accessible devices that will assist in closing the health equity gap. The information must be provided by trusted sources that understand the intended audience.

Access to medical expertise

With digital technologies, medical experts and healthcare workers can extend their reach to patients in a convenient and accessible way. As the pandemic demonstrated, healthcare can be accessible without over the phone, video links, etc. thereby eliminating the need for in-person appointments that often require people to take a day off work. Advancements in this area can bring healthcare to people in much more convenient and accessible ways. 

Access to medical necessities  

The pandemic has put a spotlight on health inequities around the world. Medical oxygen, what once was seen as a simple medical commodity, was in such high demand during the pandemic and caused countries and communities who desperately needed it to have to go without. Access to the vaccine is limited in most developing countries and is a tough sell in many communities in the US.  Digital technologies will allow companies and healthcare organizations to better streamline supply chains. 

While there’s unlikely to be a one-stop-shop digital technology that will address all of the issues in healthcare inequity, the industry has the opportunity to come together and do its part in closing the gap. 

At OHC, we’re focused on closing the gap in healthcare for underserved communities. Learn more about our mission.

The New Normal: Telehealth and Healthcare Disparities

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused troubling problems for the world but has also forced several industries to rethink what works and adapt for the future. Healthcare, for example, had to transition from in-person patient care to a virtual solution. In fact, McKinsey reported that 46% of consumers used telehealth solutions in 2020, up fourfold from 2019.

 

While telehealth has been convenient and useful for many, it also opens the opportunity to close the healthcare disparity gap that underserved community’s experience.

 

What are some pros and cons of telehealth for underserved communities?

 

Pros to telehealth for underserved communities:

  • The access to healthcare from anywhere
  • The ability to connect with a larger pool of physicians
  • The opportunity for physicians to develop more frequent, trusting relationships virtually in the comfort of the patient’s home
  • Eliminate the need for transportation to the physical doctor’s office

 

Cons to telehealth to underserved communities:

  • The lack of reliable internet
  • Unable to access a computer in general
  • Reduced trust because of the virtual nature of the visit
  • Reimbursements lags disproportionately affect the most marginalized

 

While it’s clear there are both pros and cons to telehealth for minority populations and communities, working together to eliminate the challenges and make telehealth truly accessible for all will change the future of healthcare for the better.

 

At Our Healthy Community (OHC), we are working to eliminate health disparities, improve health equity and enhance health outcomes by fostering relationships between faith and non faith based community leaders, members, academia, and healthcare organizations.

 

Learn how OHC is leveling the playing field for underrepresented communities.

 

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Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120

© 2021 Our Healthy Community. All Rights Reserved.

New Study Connects the Dots Between Preterm Birth and COVID Vulnerability in Underserved Communities

 

New research by Ponnila Marinescu, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and colleagues found that mothers living in neighborhoods with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 diagnoses were more than three times as likely to have had a preterm birth before 28 weeks.

The research was presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine annual meeting. The findings also concluded that COVID severity by zip code positively correlated with the number of residents below the poverty threshold.

People from racial and ethnic minority groups have seen significant disparities when it comes to COVID-19. According to the CDC, these disparities exist because of neighborhoods, lack of access to healthcare, job conditions, income and more. This new study further outlines the risk to minority groups.

The study’s author concluded that “our collective role should thus be to take action, to advocate for and inspire socioeconomic policies that support economic vibrancy and promote optimal health outcomes in all communities.”

Our Healthy Community (OHC) is dedicated to addressing health disparities and inequities in minority populations by connecting faith and non faith based community organization leaders, members, and stakeholders with resources to improve population health outcomes.

Learn how OHC is working with community organizations to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities.

Subscribe to our newsletter. We value your privacy.

P.O. Box 201056

Shaker Heights, Ohio 44120

© 2021 Our Healthy Community. All Rights Reserved.