Key Health+Equity+Tech Learnings from the ViVE, HIMMS and SXSW 2022 Healthcare Conferences
StartingUpGood’s core initiative for 2022 focuses on advancing health equity through technology.
Earlier this Spring, we virtually attended several healthcare conferences to learn more about the many ongoing efforts to reduce health inequities. This article covers the major themes from these conferences.
Key Themes from the Conferences
Technology responses to the COVID pandemic provide new opportunities for improving health equity — but only if we continue to build intentionally on them.
- The pandemic showed that healthcare systems can change quickly when necessary.
- COVID healthcare responses built new technology scaffolding to deal with immediate issues, but now we need to reinforce and amplify this infrastructure to make sure it progresses health equity.
- Governments were able to speed up processes and cut down unnecessary bureaucracy.
To improve health equity, person-centric healthcare technology is essential.
- Health technology keeps missing the mark when it’s not centered around the person receiving care and their caregivers.
- We need to bring the system to the person rather than waiting for the person to come to the system only when they are sick.
Securing and sustaining trust from and through community influencers is fundamental to health technology innovation and adoption.
- To meet people where they are, we must partner with already trusted people and groups in the community.
- Every encounter with a patient is a chance to build trust and enhance the relationship.
- We need to ensure people believe that they can still trust the system even if they have less face-to-face interaction with their care team.
Effective telehealth requires that more people have access to basic connectivity i.e., internet and phones.
- Though technology can improve access to care, all people, regardless of income level, need basic technology access to take advantage of the benefits.
- The COVID pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth.
- In-person healthcare is not going away, but telehealth can augment the healthcare experience.
- As people spend more time online in their daily lives, they will expect healthcare to be quicker and more accessible.
Healthcare technology needs to understand and implement customer experience design principles.
- Healthcare technology innovation should look to other sectors to learn how to make technology simple and engaging (think Netflix or Amazon).
- Applications should be designed in collaboration with end-users.
- We need to introduce the right tech for the right person at the right time.
Data accuracy and security are the essential foundation for healthcare technology innovation.
- We need to learn from other sectors’ data security and privacy mistakes to ensure best practices.
- Commonly used predictive models in healthcare can disadvantage people of color if there are flaws in their algorithms. We need to revisit current algorithms and introduce appropriate data sampling to ensure accurate AI training data.
- Improvements in technology and designing for health equity will enable more healthcare players, including community-based organizations focused on social determinants of health (SDOH), to access the right data at the right time.
- We need to collect data in standardized ways that include accurate race and ethnicity information.
Corporations, community-based organizations, and other actors need to work together to improve data sharing, technology access, and implementation to address health equity gaps.
- We need a more organized delivery system that integrates community health and social support networks, enables information exchanges, and allows reimbursement for community partners.
- We need to find ways for payers to prioritize health equity and reimburse providers for addressing SDOH.
- It’s impossible to make a difference on health equity gaps without data, but there are still information silos between payers, providers, pharmacies, and community groups.
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems play a key role in data collection and interoperability.
Overall, we found that these three conferences shared many of the same themes and recommendations for the way forward in using technology to improve health equity. As we continue our journey of understanding the useful intersections of “Health+Equity+Tech” we will share our learnings with the broader community through StartingUpGood’s social media platforms.