The events of the past year (a global pandemic, a contentious election, and protests against systemic racism, for starters) have highlighted the systemic mistakes we have made in health care. Longstanding disparities in access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes have been magnified, resulting in many health organizations across the country launching new initiatives focused on health equity. For example, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois launched a $100M fund in partnership with local hospitals to mitigate health disparities for racial and ethnic minorities.ii Additionally, the American Medical Association announced a new policy that recognizes racism as a threat to public health.iii And at Providence, we’ve launched our own $50M initiative to reduce health disparities.iv In part, these funds will be used on outreach and education to ensure equitable access to testing, treatment and vaccinations for COVID-19 and expanded to other health disparities as time goes on.
These health equity initiatives are important to drive policy change and advance health equity at the national and local level, but how do we ensure these efforts don’t become another performative marketing ploy? Health organizations of all kinds must move beyond these independent, preliminary actions and translate them into systemic changes to the culture of our organizations, the way we do our work, and the products that are generated by that system. Our actions must follow our words. This is especially important for digital health organizations that have witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the shift to digital care due to COVID-19.
In our most recent Digital Perspective Report: It's Time for an Upgrade Toward Health Equity, I deep dive into the factors that are making distributed care a reality, the role of digital on this important trend and a vision for how it will impact patient care in the future. Download the report today in our Digital Innovation Group Resource Center to learn more.