Health Disparity


The term "health disparity" is a term that is used on within the United States, while globally it is more commonly termed "health inequality." Most dictionary definitions define disparity as inequality; difference in age, rank, condition, or excellence; or dissimilitude.

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Medical Aid During Hati Disaster
Many different populations are affected by disparities. These include:
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Residents of rural areas
  • Women, children, the elderly
  • Persons with disabilities

Health disparity is one of the nation’s and worlds most severe issues. Gaps in health care quality and a quality health status are the causes of health disparity. Racial and ethnic minorities and underserved communities are the main focus of health disparities.

Health disparity is experienced and witnessed everyday from local issues in the community to charity ads requesting for donations to feed starving children in foreign countries. Health records and statistics provide evidence displaying the areas and ethnic groups that lack quality healthcare and insurance. An example would be the state of Florida which has one of the nation’s highest rates of residents insured through Medicaid and Medicare which is governmental health insurance for low income individuals and families.

Application

One factor to consider when applying health informatics is that disparity in health care is affected by the digital divide. Age and socioeconomic status affect the access of technology to patients. If patients do not have access to technology, then advancements in technology will only widen the gap and increase the disparity. For instance, web based technology is helpful to those who have access to the internet however, those who often need the care the most do not have easy access to the internet and therefore will not be able to utilize those tools. It is therefore important to consider ways to decrease the digital divide and increase the availability of technology.

However, technology can be used to better serve under served populations. For instance, health IT tools often provide feedback about clinical performance via reminders, quality reports or clinical benchmarking. If these reports also included specific disparity indicators then providers could use this information to find areas that need improvement and which populations are under served.Health informatics can also be applied to gather research and information to identify disparities in health care such as population regions, ethnic groups, and age groups.
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Utilizing Telemedicine for a Consult


Another way to close the gap between under served populations in rural areas is to utilize telemedicine. For instance telemedicine could be used to assist local doctors so a patient does not have to travel far to a specialist or it could be used for
at-home care. Medicare covers some telemedicine services and will most likely expand their coverage as more evidence of the benefits of telemedicine emerge.

CTIS is a leading health informatics company who believe quality healthcare for every citizen is a fundamental human right. They have developed a case study to eliminate health disparity. CTIS’s central approach to eliminating health disparity is to use information and communication technologies, reuse the award-winning applications in public health, health research and healthcare segments, which are delivered to clients. Through community involvement and developing successfully working models, CTIS has been able to reduce health disparities. The desired result is to provide higher efficiency, productivity and better health outcome.

CTIS, Inc. is located in Rockville, MD where these applications are successfully implemented.

Application Goals - Addressing the Factors

  • Integration of fragmented fields
  • Forging public and private partnerships
  • Prevention
  • Necessary educational and training tools
  • Utilizing community organizations

CTIS Health IT Successes

  • Community Ministries of Rockville (CMR)
  • Mobil Medical Care (MobileMed)
  • Primary Care Coalition (PCC)
  • World Wide Assistance (WWA)
  • Regional Minority Prevention Network - George Washing Cancer Institute (GWCI)
  • ProstateNet
  • Participation in Health Disparity Conference

Documentation

Health Disparities
Global Health Informatics
Global Health Presence


Web Resources

CTIS Market Area
NCSL - National Conference of Staet Legislature
NIH: National Cancer Institute
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49ugJ0nYMlI

Related Terminology

Health Reform
Minority Health
Health Issues
Social Determinants
Inadequate Health
Quality Health
Telemedicine

References:


http://phiwiki.wetpaint.com/page/Health+Disparities+and+Health+Informatics
http://www.amia.org/news-and-publications/press-release/hit’s-impact-health-disparities-will-it-help-or-harm
http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/mobile-wireless/telemedicine-reduces-rural-health-dispar/231002835