The pandemic has made very clear how deeply entrenched health inequity is in our society. As employers mobilize to address this complex problem in their own populations, they might consider how to harness the disruptive force of digital and virtual health solutions, particularly in the area of primary care. Health equity could be described as a state in which everyone has the equal opportunity to be healthy. While digital health solutions can’t end poverty and discrimination– key barriers to health equity – they might be able to help level the playing field by making preventive and maintenance care more accessible to marginalized people, helping them avoid more severe or acute health events.
Here are a few examples of how that might work:
These and other digital health innovations have the potential to positively influence population health. However, there remains an underlying and often overlooked issue: the lack of universally reliable and functional high-speed internet. The pandemic highlighted this as a major challenge when we saw millions flocking to local hotspots for online schooling. This hurdle must be cleared to unlock the potential of digital health solutions to improve health equity.
The health-tech community is highly engaged in the challenge of disrupting systemic health inequity. The solutions follow principles that are consistent with employer strategies: making care delivery convenient for the member/patient/consumer and directly addressing the needs of underserved employees and members.