Digital Health Disability Healthcare IT Inequality

How will telehealth impact health equity?

Will telehealth widen or reduce health disparities? Telehealth may make it easier for individuals who lack transportation to get access to medical care; on the other hand, those without high-speed internet or good cell phone connections could be disadvantaged.

In a recent report, NCQA examined the future of telehealth and examined how to make sure telehealth is implemented in a way that improves outcomes for all. Below are the key suggestions from the report.

Tailoring telehealth to individual preferences and needs

  1. Prioritize language and cultural humility.
  2. Appreciate role of digital literacy in virtual care visit
  3. Optimize telehealth for people with disabilities

Addressing Regulatory, Policy, and Infrastructure Barriers to Fair Telehealth Access

  1. Ensure equitable broadband infrastructure
  2. Review and update legislation/regulations that stymie telehealth expansion and continuation
  3. Review and update telehealth payment policies to incentivize equitable access to care
  4. Consider how licensure limitations impact patient-centered care delivery

Leveraging Telehealth and Digital Technologies to Promote Equitable Care Delivery

  1. Develop, implement, and integrate digital technologies that address health equity issues
  2. Monitor the impact of new digital technologies on health equity and access to care

More details on how specifically to accomplish these goals are included in the full NCQA report.

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