The future of digital health is equitable
UST envisions creating health equity through human-centered design and intelligent automation
Susan Protos, Head of HealthTech and Life Sciences
An overly tech-enabled healthcare environment is not healthy for everyone. In fact, it leaves many behind. Some of our most vulnerable populations don’t have access to IomT, broadband, 5G and other digital tech. At UST, we seek creative ways and novel partnerships to help bridge these gaps.
Susan Protos, Head of HealthTech and Life Sciences
Digital technology can narrow the equity gap in healthcare and reduce the disparity in health outcomes. As digital health expands, a health equity strategy has become even more imperative for hospitals and healthcare systems.
The United States, when compared to other developed countries, has below-average outcomes despite spending significantly more on healthcare. Factors contributing to this include access to care, high cost, and a focus on treating illnesses rather than preventing them. These issues have led to a growing inequity gap within the country, with marginalized populations experiencing disproportionately poor health outcomes.
Statistics reported by the American Association for Cancer Research show this reality. They note, for example, that:
- Black and Hispanic patients with breast, lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer were almost 30 percent less likely than white patients to enroll in clinical trials.
- Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at an advanced stage than white women.
- African American men have a prostate cancer death rate that's more than double of men in other racial groups.
The importance of tech equity in digital health
The disparities mentioned above and the high costs for any health condition call for designing and implementing health technology that ensures patients can access needed medical services. Improving health equity will help remove the two chief constraints to accessing healthcare - affordability and availability.
Thankfully, today's digital health ecosystem promises better access and outcomes for all patients and their caregiving communities across population demographics. Hospitals and healthcare systems can work with experts who strive to architect connections to better care. They will guide them to use digital health innovation to expand access and achieve greater equity in outcomes.
High-tech innovations and investments influence these outcomes. High-tech innovations include high-tech digital twins, metaverses, and remote-patient monitoring, while low-tech interventions include high-touch food delivery, cab rides, and case management.
Tech equity and digital health innovation
In our work, we've identified many key themes and capabilities in tech equity in healthcare. Three take center stage: human-centered design, intelligent automation and dynamic personalization. A closer look at them helps show the pathway we’re on as we work toward achieving true equity in healthcare.
Successful solutions start with empathy-led design. UST teams are made up of culturally diverse individuals from various career backgrounds who bring a wide range of points of view to the table. This diversity means every problem is examined from any number of unique perspectives. These teams work closely with stakeholders - patients, providers, caregivers, and administrators - to uncover actionable insights that help shape any proposed technology change.
An overly tech-enabled healthcare environment is not healthy for everyone. In fact, it leaves many behind. Some of our most vulnerable populations don't have access to IoMT, broadband, 5G and other digital tech. At UST, we seek creative ways and novel partnerships to help bridge these gaps. That’s why we joined the HLTH TechQuity Council - to be a part of the coalition creating the framework for tech equity in the healthcare industry.
Combining behavioral science and automation can nudge people toward improving their health and well-being. As a result, wellness and care plans can adapt to an individual's shifting mood, behavior and disease progression in an automated and empathetic fashion.
UST Engage, powered by Well-Beat, is a digital patient engagement solution that adapts to member's behavioral challenges. We bring together the best of artificial intelligence with behavioral science to deliver a solution that makes health and care better for everyone.
The future of digital health is equitable and inclusive
The long-term solutions needed to bridge significant gaps in health equity rely on our continued advancement in digital health tech. So much of today's healthcare environment depends on digital literacy and internet connectivity.
At UST, we are committed to the path to tech equity. This spring, we have joined other dynamic voices in the healthcare community as a member of the HLTH TechQuity Council. As a dedicated healthcare partner, we support a future where tech equity means a healthcare system that works better for everyone.