Te Whanganui-a-Tara – As the world continues to address inequities in health, digital technologies have an immense potential to contribute.
There are a number of drivers of health inequity in particular may benefit from digital technologies.
Greater leadership from all sectors can increase the use of digital technologies for good but must also account for the potential to reinforce inequities.
Digital tools then automated the processes she used to do by hand. A tablet-based electronic immunisation registry connected to a logistics management information system now replaces the paper registries and automatically updates inventory data every time she an immunisation is recorded in a clinic.
A data dashboard, designed by a health worker and manager advisory group, put stock level data at health workers’ fingertips.
The digital transformation of health systems is not about the “killer app” that will solve health inequity forever; it is about the systemic, often invisible ways that digital tools and approaches support individuals and health systems in their efforts to dismantle inequity.
Here are five factors of health inequity that digital technologies that can help improve:
- Inequitable access to trusted, reliable health information
At an individual level, misinformation, disinformation and a lack of information all serve as barriers to a person’s ability to pursue health.
- Inequitable access to medical expertise
An estimated 18 million additional health workers are needed to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. This global shortfall in the health workforce is not shared equally amongst communities and without a sufficient health workforce, individual care suffers.
- Inequitable access to medical commodities and other interventions:
The availability of essential medical commodities – medicines, vaccines, diagnostics, devices and more – has enormous influence on quality of care. As we’ve seen in the covid pandemic when countries and communities do not have equitable access to something as simple as medical oxygen the implications are far-reaching.
- Inequitable representation in public health systems and services
Information systems and the data they collect often do not equitably represent populations, for example, undercounting members of vulnerable communities or not collecting the right data to diagnose inequities in the health system.
- Inequitable support for catastrophic medical expenses
Each year, 950 million people spend at least 10 percent or more of their household budget on health care expenses and 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty as a result.