5 ways health IT can help children in poverty

New white paper aims to call attention to lack of access to healthcare
By Bernie Monegain
10:02 AM

In a new white paper by the Samsung Innovation Center at Children's Health Fund, researchers examine how technology could help improve the health of children in poverty across the country.

"The Growing Health Gap for Children in Poverty: Will the Health Technology Revolution Level the Playing Field?" explores the need for, the potential and the challenges to expanding the application and impact of innovative healthcare technology to ensure healthcare for all children.

The Samsung Innovation Center at Children’s Health Fund was established to provide information and analysis about how advanced technology can help level the playing field and assure that all children have access to timely and quality health care. The organization points out that 20 percent of children live in poverty and highlights these barriers they face in obtaining healthcare:

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  • At least 15 million to 20 million children live in areas federally defined as lacking in health professionals;
  • Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, at least 5.5 million children still lack health insurance; and,
  • Some three million children miss medical appointments because affordable transportation to medical facilities is not available.

"For nearly 30 years, Children's Health Fund has treated underserved children in communities throughout the country. And during that time, we have seen many advances in medical technology, from electronic medical records – which Children's Health Fund first pioneered as a space saving measure on mobile clinics in the 1980s – to advanced telehealth measures in use today. But often those who can most benefit from this technology are the last to receive access to it," Irwin Redlener, MD, president and co-founder of Children's Health Fund and director of SICCHF, said in a news release. "The goal of this white paper is to drive home the message that technology is important for everyone, and lays out the vital next steps we must take in order to achieve healthcare parity for all."

[See also: Health technology said to reduce care disparity in poor and minorities.]

The white paper expands upon the ways technology can be used to drive major change for those in need, and it puts forth five recommendations:

  1. New technologies must be designed for or adapted to the needs of children.

  2. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should create a special fund to incentivize the development of technologies to improve accessibility and quality of healthcare for medically underserved children.

  3. Training curricula for health sciences students and providers should include education regarding the effective use of technology in improving healthcare.

  4. Efforts should be made to ensure that families fully understand how new technologies can improve the quality and availability of health information relevant to their children.

  5. Innovative ways to make healthcare more accessible and efficient, especially for underserved children, must be financially supported.

Samsung Electronics America has committed $2 million dollars to Children’s Health Fund to establish the SICCHF, which is designed to call attention to challenges where advanced technology can be developed and deployed to reduce medical access disparities for economically disadvantaged youth across the country. In addition, SICCHF will develop and deploy a state-of-the-art mobile health clinic that incorporates a host of highly advanced telehealth equipment and other innovative technologies.

For more information regarding Children's Health Fund and the Samsung Innovation Center at Children's Health Fund, visit here. To view the white paper, click here.

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