We partnered with HIMSS to produce our latest webinar, The Essential Building Blocks for a Successful Digital Strategy. The panel included Brittany Partridge, the Virtual Care Technology Lead for UC San Diego Health; N. Chineye Anako, the Regional Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Trinity Health Of New England;Laura Cranston, the Supervisor of Interpreter Services for CentraCare Health; and Jamey Edwards, President of UpHealth. 

The session began with Jamey Edwards outlining five essential building blocks for the modern digital health strategy. In his presentation Jamey not only discussed what upcoming trends to look out for, and how to measure the success of your program, but he emphasized why health equity is a foundational aspect of digital design.

The panel discussion then tackled how each organization has considered their own approaches to health equity both before and during COVID-19, as well as where they see their departments building towards for the future. Read highlights from the panel discussion below: 

Jamey: Are you seeing changes in the way that digital solutions are being used? What are your organizations doing to sustain the change from the standpoint of health equity?

Chi: “Speaking for Trinity Health of New England, we’re looking to retain a lot of what we’ve learned in the last year when it comes to accessibility for our patients in a digital space. We needed to make sure that those communities that are often forgotten were not left behind when we shifted from in-person services, like minority communities, Limited English Proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing. We needed to ensure they were at the forefront of our digital decision making. One way we did that was to make sure we had readily accessible video and audio interpretation services available.”

Brittany: “While the amount of digital interactions is scaling back, I think the opportunities for optimization are improving. COVID forced us to take a two-year program and turn it around in a weekend. What I see is that maybe if we had rolled out slowly we would have been targeting patients that are digital natives, but with COVID we had to be ready to immediately reach everyone if they needed care. That really highlighted the barriers that were in place and helped us focus on diversity. A lot of my focus now is on optimization of our services rather than worrying about volume of digital visits.”

Laura: “I think the numbers have decreased but the opportunity is still there. A lot of our providers have found a new groove with our digital solutions. Because we integrated interpreter services into our Telehealth platform, we’re able to use that platform for all of our visits.”

Jamey: What are the opportunities that are still in front of us to do better?

Brittany: “I want to call out technical teams. It’s time we start employing Diversity and Inclusion in all steps of our process.”

Laura: “There’s a gap in functionality. We have a huge Somali population, but only 30% of the community is literate. So even if we have a website translated into Somali, it’s not effectively reaching our patient population. Our digital strategy has to include non-digital solutions like community outreach and radio advertising within communities to help reach them where they are.”

Chi: “Not everyone has access to internet services. Our population is aging out. We have to be aware of that. As we move forward with digital solutions, we cannot be creating more forgotten groups.”

This hour-long webinar is now available on demand. To catch the entire panel discussion, and learn more about the necessary foundation for digital health strategy, watch the webinar here.