Digital addressing health in areas of disadvantage
Digital addressing health in areas of disadvantage: How can the digital health ecosystem deliver measurable improvements in healthcare outcomes for the disadvantaged?
Whilst the health system strives to provide equal access to treatment and care for everyone, we know that some people and population groups have poor access to both health and social care services generally leading to worse health outcomes. As the Australian digital health ecosystem of payers, providers and digital intermediaries grows in capability and capacity, how does it target deprived populations? We know historically, cookie cutter approaches to health service provision have not improved health outcomes for deprived populations. In fact, the ‘worried well’ have been the fastest adopters of digital health.
Our key take-away as participants and observers at the event were:
- Improving health for people with disadvantage should not be seen in isolation – taking a holistic approach to people and what is happening in their lives is important, and particularly important with those in situations of disadvantage. Health should not be seen in isolation. There are many contributing factors which we may or may not be aware. Remember – do no harm.
- Reduce complexity and increase ease of access – all agreed that we make accessing health services complex and difficult. There were many examples discussed which could be implemented back into our organisations to improve access (particularly in areas of disadvantage). These solutions may or may not be digital – but just make things easier.
- See the individual holistically – where possible resolve information and service fragmentation. This is particularly evident in the current NDIS rollout where there is a disconnect and lack of coordination between healthcare, disability and community care services.
- Leverage existing infrastructure and community networks – there are many community groups and services all participants and groups highlighted health pathways and consent models as key approaches for change. These may have merit and there are examples where some of these models are already evolving.
- Use and share data smarter – as we build our information sources we need to start sharing data better to address improved health outcomes. Having more and better information available at points of care allows better treatment and planning of care. In addition, the use of predictive data tailoring specific services or approaches to target groups or individuals will focus efforts to potentially achieve improved outcomes.
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Georgina de Beaujeu joins Star Health having held senior strategy roles at a range of state-based not-for-profits, as well as an international non-government organisation. With a grounding in private sector consulting, Georgina has spent the last 10 years working within the social sector, including: family violence, housing, health, emergency services, international humanitarian law, social enterprise, migration and justice. Georgina has an interest in exploring how the social sector are developing sustainable business models to grow their impact.