It’s been properly established that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption and use of digital well being instruments. However now, stakeholders should work out simply take that elevated utilization to handle points in healthcare, particularly fairness and accessibility.
To assist reply these questions, the Morehouse College of Medication teamed up with United Well being Basis Companions to conduct the Digital Well being Instruments Examine, which assessed how major care suppliers, particularly these in rural or underserved areas, use well being know-how and the way they really feel about it.
Two of the survey’s facilitators, Megan Douglas, an assistant professor and well being coverage director on the Morehouse College of Medication, and Dominic Mack, a professor of household medication and director on the Morehouse College of Medication, convened at HIMSS21 to debate their findings and their potential makes use of.
“I feel actually on the essence of this research and a variety of the work that we’ve achieved right here is … the instrument within the arms of the clinicians which are serving underserved affected person populations, and are they accessible to these clinicians?” Douglas mentioned.
The survey included responses from greater than 1,100 clinicians throughout states like Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Practically all (99%) of respondents say they’ve used digital well being instruments of their follow over the past 5 years.
Of these digital well being instruments, telehealth and digital well being data have been utilized by probably the most suppliers (65%) adopted by affected person portals (50%), well being data exchanges (45%), prescription drug monitoring applications (40%), distant monitoring applications (30%) and wearable units (20%).
As beforehand famous, the pandemic performed a big function in digital well being adoption, with 90% of respondents reporting utilizing digital instruments due to COVID-19 and 54% saying they used telehealth for the primary time throughout the pandemic.
Components similar to ease of workflow integration, affected person want and incentives from the federal government performed into suppliers’ adoption of digital well being, in accordance with the survey.
Regardless of these enabling components, suppliers additionally reported price, time, lack of payer reimbursement and restricted workflow integration as obstacles to adoption.
These findings show that, whereas adoption and satisfaction of digital well being instruments have considerably elevated in latest months, there are nonetheless persisting challenges, in accordance with the audio system.
“I feel one of many challenges that we hear time and again that’s nonetheless occurring is interoperability of the methods,” Mack mentioned. “After which with the well being fairness implications, we speak about [how] the digital divide continues to pose a barrier.”
As Morehouse disseminates these findings with stakeholders, it hopes they can be utilized to plan a plan to beat the obstacles of adoption and to surmount the persisting challenges.
“It is a begin, first to guage the discrepancies, the disparities which are on the market,” Mack mentioned. “Our subsequent step is definitely to aim to develop a plan on overcome these obstacles.”
He says that this and different research can uncover the restraints to healthcare that underserved communities face. That means, when firms construct instruments shifting ahead, they’ll higher handle the wants of those affected person populations.
On the coverage aspect, Douglas hopes these findings can lead legislatures to take a well being fairness method to new legal guidelines.
“What we’re planning on doing is offering [the policymakers in these states] with snapshots of a few of the well being and wellness disparities inside their states and in addition snapshots of the survey knowledge as the inspiration for conversations round what insurance policies are at present in place, what could also be contributing to a few of the obstacles and facilitators, and the way, as policymakers, do they react to the survey knowledge and the way would they take motion to enhance the environments that these clinicians are serving in,” she mentioned.
Going ahead, Douglas says it’s about placing well being fairness entrance and heart for each legislatures and well being know-how innovators.