Health Equity Key Trends for 2021

January 25

Healthcare leaders can expect to see continued focus on patient engagement technology and health equity that emerged during the pandemic.

Sparked by the global pandemic in 2020, patients are likely to continue using technologies like telehealth. In June, reported that some 83 percent of patients who used telehealth for the first time during the pandemic will access it again after the pandemic is over.

Most experts agree telehealth proved to be a convenient, easy-to-use pathway to access care, and it will be too hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube once the pandemic subsides and more in-person care can safely resume. Patients like telehealth, experts agree, and will want at least a hybrid of in-person and telehealth care in the future.

In addition to telehealth access, experts can look to continued reliance on remote patient monitoring technologies. These tools helped keep patients out of the provider office but connected to their clinicians, an essential task for effective chronic disease management during the pandemic.

As providers continue to tap remote patient monitoring technologies in chronic disease management, it will be essential for them to identify tools that will meet specific patient needs. New data has shown that patients are primarily receptive to technologies that are unobtrusive in patients? lives, even if that tool has only a nominal effect on clinical outcomes.

But those benefits weren?t seen across the board. Data shows that not every patient was able to access telehealth during the pandemic, with disparities falling along racial lines.

And it wasn?t just healthcare technology access. The COVID-19 pandemic embodied racial health disparities that are seen far before the virus struck. Public health experts have become keenly focused on closing those disparities, and as the industry sees a light at the end of this COVID-19 tunnel, they must look to vaccine access equity, as well.

Already, Black and Latinx populations are reporting fears about limited access to a COVID-19 vaccine at higher rates than their White counterparts.

Population health experts are also growing wary about emerging geographic vaccine access disparities.

Moving into 2021, more conversations are happening about social determinants of health, health equity, and system inequality and bias that has led to such deep disparities in outcomes. Stakeholders can expect to see more efforts to provide equitable access to healthcare and address other latent racial health disparities.

Other predictions pertaining to various aspects of the healthcare industry include changes in value-based contracting and integration of behavioral healthcare and telehealth in the payer space.

This article was originally published by by Sara Heath


Patient Engagement Technologies, Population Health Management, telehealth

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