Health Equity + Telemedicine

This week on HCLDR we welcome two very special guest hosts: Stacy Hurt @stacy_hurt and Andrew Watson, MD @arwmd They will be leading us in a discussion on health equity + telemedicine. This chat will be in conjunction with #TelemedNow.

Please join us on Tuesday November 2nd at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here).

Below is the excellent blog from Stacy and Andrew.

In the advent of “modern healthcare” in parallel with the consumer electronics market there has been a focus on technology and high-technology solutions to healthcare’s problems. Arguably, 2007 was a pivotal year for consumer electronics (Tom Friedman, Chapter 2, Thank you for being late) or even earlier in 2001 with the public release of the iPod. Even today there is a tremendous focus on the richest companies in the world and how they impact healthcare – Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. Each has been valued at over $1T USD which is on par the national GDP of Mexico or even more than Switzerland.

Furthermore, US hospitals have become technology focused based on electronic health records, computers on wheels at the bedside, video enables operating rooms, and most recently telemedicine as the only way to provide healthcare during the pandemic. Our entire healthcare system from home to hospital and clinic to caregiver is digitally driven.

But, this has come at a price and called into question health equity.  As defined by Health Affairs: “Equity in health care is when every person has the opportunity to attain their full potential of health; and no one is disadvantaged from attaining this potential due to their race/ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, or geographical background.” How can we use technology, and telemedicine in particular, to help solve the dilemma of health equity?

The CDC defines health equity as “Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” 

Tonight’s HCLDR chat will be done in collaboration with our #TelemedNow colleagues and explore key area of how telemedicine can impact health equity. Are there better ways we enable patients, families and members to attain their best possible health?  How can travel and geography challenges solved by telemedicine impact equity? Can we fundamentally enable individuals and populations using telemedicine and especially remote monitoring to attain better long-term health?

Our questions tonight are:

  • T1 Which state and federal policy changes will help close #healthequity #telemedicine gaps?  
  • T2 What types of data capture is needed in making #telemedicine more customizable and user friendly to a diverse set of patients? (Race, Ethnicity, Language) 
  • T3 What role do doctors, APPs and nurses play in closing #healthequity #telemedicine equity gaps?  
  • T4 What do we need from consumer electronics to help close the #healthequity gaps using  #telemedicine services?

At a time with remarkable divisions in our country and escalating healthcare costs, we must continue focus and dedication to addressing the challenges of health equity. No company, device, innovation or profit is above the most fundamental aspects of caring for patients and enabling health.

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