Chartis Top Reads – Week of November 28 - December 4, 2021

Our research team breaks down this week’s top healthcare news.


Top Reads Overview

In an age of unprecedented change, staying current has never been more important. Our team at Chartis is curating news most relevant to the healthcare industry and tracking the topics that are trending on seven key issues: high reliability care, digital and advanced technology, financial sustainability, health disparities, the health ecosystem of the future, partnerships, and the provider enterprise. Each week, we break down what’s happening and why it matters.

COVID-19 Update

A new variant of the COVID-19 virus, the Omicron variant, was recently found in South Africa and has now been documented in Australia, other European countries, and most recently in the United States. This strain has 30+ new mutations in the virus’ “spike protein,” the way by which the virus attacks healthy cells.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) initially said this new variant is “of concern,” scientists and epidemiologists have encouraged calm and patience while we learn about the new variant. Pharmaceutical companies are presenting preliminary results that show that existing vaccines will likely provide protection. Still, some countries are re-introducing COVID-19 precautionary measures, such as travel restrictions, and stock markets are falling in anticipation of a negative impact on the global economy.

Digital and Advanced Technologies

The Buzz This Week: Digital Health Equity

The pandemic has been an opportunity to transform care delivery and accelerate digital transformation. An area of focus has been how to address disparities in outcomes and access, and deliver the culturally competent care that more patients are seeking. Numerous Black entrepreneurs have identified problems in the health system, and they have created powerful solutions that address outcomes and help to close the disparities gap. Some of those companies include:

  • Hurdle, a platform pairing consumers with therapists who understand and honor culture.
  • Health in Her Hue, an app helping Black women and other women of color find culturally sensitive providers in their area.
  • MedHaul, a technology to secure low-cost transport to medical appointments.
  • ClinifyHealth, an analytics platform that evaluates medical and social data to determine at-risk patients and proactively get them needed preventative care to reduce emergency room visits.

Addressing digital inequities will also likely take collaboration between big tech, providers, payors, entrepreneurs, and community members. This week, UC Davis Health announced they will generate ideas from their providers, patients, and community members for projects to improve equity and accessibility. The effort is in partnership with Amazon Web Services cloud technology. Any findings will be available to the public so organizations and individuals can continue to collaboratively iterate these solutions.

Why It Matters

With many problems to address, healthcare needs innovation. This has been true for a long time, but the pandemic provided an opportunity for digital transformational change and a heightened awareness of health inequities. Black health tech founders are bringing things to the next level — elevating from conversation and awareness to action and solution.

As Ashlee Wisdom, founder of Health in Her Hue, noted, “People are constantly talking about Black women’s poor health outcomes, and that’s where the conversation stops. The last thing you want to do when you go into the doctor’s office is feel like you have to put on an armor and feel like you have to fight the person or, like, you know, be at odds with the person who’s supposed to be helping you on your health journey. And that’s oftentimes the position that Black people, and largely also Black women, are having to deal with as they’re navigating health care. And it just should not be the case.” Her company is ensuring women of color have a vetted list of trusted providers and a community they can trust.

When optimally built, digital health creates the opportunity to improve health outcomes while reducing the cost of care delivery. A vital aspect of digital health innovation is measuring the outcomes of distinct populations to ensure the technology is improving care for all and not worsening the health disparities that already exist in our current system of care.

Developing new health platforms does come with the responsibility of measuring outcomes and understanding consequences of the technology (unintended or not) to ensure improvement in outcomes, value, and equity. While there is risk inherent in any innovation, there is also significant promise that digital health can be part of the health equity solution.


Contributors

Roger A Ray, MD
Chief Physician Executive
[email protected]

Alexandra Schumm
Principal, Vice President of Research
[email protected]

Abigail Arnold
Senior Research Manager
[email protected]


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Chartis Top Reads | Healthcare News | The Chartis Group