Achieving Techquity: Digital Health Equity

Abstract: 

Healthcare is facing a new frontier. In just a few years, the industry has seen a boom in digital health tools and technologies on both the patient and provider side, along with an explosion of health data, which has been driving increasingly sophisticated predictive and prescriptive insights into individuals and populations.

Unfortunately, this frontier has proven to be hostile to marginalized communities. There is a growing digital divide, where healthcare technology has actually posed challenges, instead of benefits. The barriers to accessing newly digitized care are legion: it’s everything from language barriers to low income, lack of broadband or mobile access, disabilities and physical differences, low digital literacy, a fully understandable mistrust of the healthcare system and much more. The danger is that this divide will continue to grow, and even become insuperable.

Advancing healthcare technology and driving innovation has to be done in a way that is thoughtful about implications and consumption across communities. The challenge is to reach all consumers without exacerbating the disparities that exist in communities today.
Consumers need to be able to access, understand and trust digital channels to use them to improve their health. “Techquity” can be understood as the strategic design, development, and deployment of technology to advance health equity in underserved, vulnerable and at-risk populations, and close the access gap.

Techquity is not an “individual” or consumer-level problem. Rather, promoting or advancing techquity will require collaboration, transparency, inclusivity, and a commitment to ensure organizational transformation at a systemic level, from all stakeholders -- healthcare providers, health tech companies, payers, community leaders, community organizations, policy makers, and patient organizations alike.

This talk will look at the four factors of techquity: digital access, digital literacy, health literacy, and personal preference. The speakers, Tushar Mehrotra, SVP Analytics, Optum and Michael Thompson, VP/Chief of Staff Systems Improvement, Bassett Healthcare Network, will highlight ways leaders can make sure consumers stay on the digital landscape.

Learning Objectives:
• How to build a data-driven map that identifies the health literacy, digital access and social determinants that impact digital engagement and outcomes
• Ideas for addressing the root causes that create barriers to health— and where simple digital solutions can close gaps
• How to offer simple choices to ensure a consumer’s digital experience is consistent across the health journey

Bio: 

Tushar Mehrotra is SVP of data & analytics for OptumInsight. In his role he oversees product, services, and data asset and platform strategy across markets, and is responsible for driving the vision and direction for the organization encompassing data scientists, actuaries, engineers, product leaders, and medical informatics teams. He is responsible for building GTM and end-to-end analytics solutions, across AI/ML, Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity, Population Health and VBC, Inpatient and Quality domains. Tushar is also accountable for growth, solutioning/design, and delivery for analytics as part of Optum’s Market Performance Partnerships. Prior to joining Optum, Mehrotra spent seven years at McKinsey & Company in Washington, D.C. He was one of the core leaders in the North America Digital and Analytics practice for health care. He has published articles on health care digital and analytics topics and has served on panels and roundtables with leaders in the industry. Mehrotra earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in electrical engineering, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in strategic management and finance.

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