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.