Achieving Techquity: Digital Health Equity


Healthcare is facing a new frontier. In just a few years, the industry has seen a boom in digital health tools and technologies on both the patient and provider side, along with an explosion of health data, which has been driving increasingly sophisticated predictive and prescriptive insights into individuals and populations.

Unfortunately, this frontier has proven to be hostile to marginalized communities. There is a growing digital divide, where healthcare technology has actually posed challenges, instead of benefits. The barriers to accessing newly digitized care are legion: it’s everything from language barriers to low income, lack of broadband or mobile access, disabilities and physical differences, low digital literacy, a fully understandable mistrust of the healthcare system and much more. The danger is that this divide will continue to grow, and even become insuperable.

Advancing healthcare technology and driving innovation has to be done in a way that is thoughtful about implications and consumption across communities. The challenge is to reach all consumers without exacerbating the disparities that exist in communities today.
Consumers need to be able to access, understand and trust digital channels to use them to improve their health. “Techquity” can be understood as the strategic design, development, and deployment of technology to advance health equity in underserved, vulnerable and at-risk populations, and close the access gap.

Techquity is not an “individual” or consumer-level problem. Rather, promoting or advancing techquity will require collaboration, transparency, inclusivity, and a commitment to ensure organizational transformation at a systemic level, from all stakeholders -- healthcare providers, health tech companies, payers, community leaders, community organizations, policy makers, and patient organizations alike.

This talk will look at the four factors of techquity: digital access, digital literacy, health literacy, and personal preference. The speakers, Tushar Mehrotra, SVP Analytics, Optum and Michael Thompson, VP/Chief of Staff Systems Improvement, Bassett Healthcare Network, will highlight ways leaders can make sure consumers stay on the digital landscape.

Learning Objectives:
• How to build a data-driven map that identifies the health literacy, digital access and social determinants that impact digital engagement and outcomes
• Ideas for addressing the root causes that create barriers to health— and where simple digital solutions can close gaps
• How to offer simple choices to ensure a consumer’s digital experience is consistent across the health journey


As the Vice President, Chief of Staff, Systems Improvement of Bassett Healthcare Network, Michael Thompson partners with administrative and medical staff leadership to develop and implement systems to manage strategic performance improvement plans for all entities across Bassett Healthcare Network. He works collaboratively with network staff and leaders to leverage cultural systems to accelerate improvement initiatives, and partners to drive quality, safety, experience, and access priorities. Michael serves as the performance delivery manager and analytics lead for the Optum Insights/Bassett market performance partnership, leads and oversees the development of key process standard work and integrates improvement and change management principles across the Bassett network. Prior to arriving at Bassett, Michael spent five years at INTEGRIS in Oklahoma City in a variety of roles – most recently vice president for provider services. Prior to working for INTEGRIS, Michael spent 10 years with the U.S. Postal Service in a variety of industrial engineering and leadership positions. Michael holds an MS in industrial and systems engineering and a master's in business administration. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and has extensive experience in lean methodology and system design.

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