“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.” Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As we reflect on the end of the year and look forward to 2023, the “why” for Primary.Health that remains constant is to be a catalyst in making healthcare more equitable. As a technology company that enables diagnostic and treatment programs for infectious and airborne disease, our solutions are used to reduce barriers to healthcare in order to improve population health. It will take the collective efforts of many organizations, but we are energized that health equity has risen to the top of the agenda for many and is more frequently a key evaluation criteria for solutions. If it’s not equitable, then it’s not valuable.
Inequities in healthcare are a serious and complicated challenge. There are many factors ranging from explicit and implicit bias, health literacy, financial hurdles, other unmet social needs, etc. On an episode of the Arm and a Leg podcast, Dr. Thomas Fisher, an emergency room (ER) physician in Chicago, talked about his hospital’s decision to create separate areas of the ER for insured and uninsured patients. This resulted in uninsured patients receiving less resources, their area becoming overcrowded, and experiencing inexcusably long wait times.
I also heard a recent story about a woman of color who had unjustifiably had a note entered into her EHR record that she was an aggressive patient, which led to her receiving inequitable care every time she was seen in that health system. Over fifty years have passed since Dr. King was assassinated, and the horror stories still astound. They are important reminders that there is much work to be done.
Primary.Health believes that we can be part of the solution by offering technology that brings healthcare more directly to people. In recent years, healthcare has unquestionably started to shift outside of traditional care settings. In the infectious and airborne disease areas where we focus, a rapidly growing number of diagnostics can be performed in the home through self-testing or by mailing to a lab. Some of the partners we work with have run pop-up healthcare sites to reach people in underserved communities who might not otherwise have access. After a diagnostic test, our platform can also integrate telehealth and ePrescriptions into the patient experience, accessible from a mobile phone.
In the background, data is collected from these non-traditional sites to evaluate participation and inform decisions on where to focus resources. The importance of data is critical in health equity efforts, which is why we recently signed the pledge to leverage data to address health disparities. These are positive trends in making healthcare more accessible to all people regardless of their health literacy, socioeconomic status and general comfort level with the traditional healthcare system.
We are determined to accelerate our health equity efforts in partnership with like-minded private and public organizations. Please reach out to us here to have a conversation about your health equity goals and how our technology can help prevent your population from falling ill to infectious and airborne diseases.