How Can Health Care Organizations Bridge the Digital Divide?

March 14, 2024
David Grandy, national vice president, innovation for Kaiser Permanente

David Grandy, national vice president, innovation for Kaiser Permanente

For most Americans, expansion of digital health care at hospitals and health systems across the nation has improved the patient experience and medical outcomes. But for individuals unable to access broadband internet service or lacking ability or desire to use web-based tools, modern medicine’s benefits are beyond their grasp.

Innovators at California-based Kaiser Permanente (KP) discussed how they lead the way in identifying challenges and implementing solutions to the dilemma at a Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) conference. “This is a critical situation for those who are being left behind when it comes to advances in digital health care,” says David Grandy, the company’s national vice president for innovation. “As providers, we have a responsibility to help them overcome barriers to adoption, as well as making sure care is equitable and inclusive, both digitally and otherwise.”

Defining the Problem

To define the scope of the problem, KP conducted in-depth research but found no clear consensus on how many Americans are on the wrong side of the digital divide. For example, the Federal Communications Commission estimates that broadband service is unavailable to only 6 percent of the U.S. population, while Microsoft puts the figure at 50 percent, according to Grandy. “Regardless of who’s right, we know the number is unacceptably high and that we have to do something about it.”

Read the full article to learn how Kaiser Permanente surveyed its members to better understand the issue and develop initiatives to achieve digital health care equity and inclusion: Kaiser Permanente Leads the Way in Addressing Digital Health Care Equity and Inclusion

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Matt Humphrey