How to Prevent Technology-Related Barriers to Care

February 16, 2022
Stacy Hurt

Stacy Hurt, patient engagement consultant

A group of industry innovators recently took part in a panel discussion hosted by Reuters Events™, “Taking Action to Eliminate Disparities and Advance Health Equity.” Technology was one of several topics these leaders covered during their wide-ranging conversation, moderated by patient engagement consultant Stacy Hurt.

Hurt asked the panel, “How can we prevent technology from being a barrier to care? Is there a risk that technology can exacerbate the inequity?”

The panelists, David Holmberg, CEO of Highmark Health; Dr. Gary Kaplan, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason; and Patti Doykos, executive director of Healthy Equity at Bristol Myers Squibb, shared their perspectives on technology — their challenges, discoveries, and successes, and what they hope to accomplish in the future.

Hurt had a pressing need for telehealth well before the pandemic hit. Transporting her disabled son to medical appointments was becoming a challenge. But when she asked providers about the availability of telehealth to ease the burden, she was told it couldn’t be done. Once the pandemic hit, she says, “Suddenly, it was done in three months.”

Kaplan said, “We were all dabbling in telehealth and we stood up robust platforms very quickly.”

The panel concurred that it’s time to solidify the place of telehealth in care delivery. Holmberg said, “The pandemic proved that technology could be very effective in getting people care, to extend the capabilities that we had.”

Doykos points out that telehealth has greatly expanded access, especially for patients in rural areas who need specialty care. “I think what we have seen is that digital health, telehealth definitely creates opportunities for more healthcare information or access to services, and especially resource-limited settings or rural settings where patients would have to travel very, very far in order to get access to care.”

Read the full story now for more insights, and to access a recording of the panel discussion:

Health Equity and the Role of Technology

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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