Role of health information technology in addressing health disparities: Patient, clinician, and system perspectives

Med Care

Over the last decade, health information technology (IT) has dramatically transformed medical practice in the United States. On May 11-12, 2017, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved, convened a scientific workshop, "Addressing Health Disparities with Health Information Technology," with the goal of ensuring that future research guides potential health IT initiatives to address the needs of health disparities populations. The workshop examined patient, clinician, and system perspectives on the potential role of health IT in addressing health disparities. Attendees were asked to identify and discuss various health IT challenges that confront underserved communities and propose innovative strategies to address them, and to involve these communities in this process. Community engagement, cultural competency, and patient-centered care were highlighted as key to improving health equity, as well as to promoting scalable, sustainable, and effective health IT interventions. Participants noted the need for more research on how health IT can be used to evaluate and address the social determinants of health. Expanding public-private partnerships was emphasized, as was the importance of clinicians and IT developers partnering and using novel methods to learn how to improve health care decision-making. Finally, to advance health IT and promote health equity, it will be necessary to record and capture health disparity data using standardized terminology, and to continuously identify system-level deficiencies and biases.

Zhang X, Hailu B, Tabor DC, et al. Role of health information technology in addressing health disparities: Patient, clinician, and system perspectives. Med Care. 2019;57 Suppl 6 Suppl 2:S115-s120. PMID: 31095049. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001092.

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Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Not Specified
Screening Research: