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Top thought leaders tackle health care inequities in population health management

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Continuing telehealth care delivery beyond the COVID-19 pandemic will benefit publicly insured children if they are ensured equitable access to telehealth services. This study finding is part of a Special Issue on “Reducing Health Disparities in Underserved Populations” in the peer-reviewed journal Population Health Management.

In their article, Bisakha Sen, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and co-authors examined disparities in telehealth utilization in a population of publicly insured children. They found evidence of disparities in telehealth use by race/ethnicity, rurality, and family income. “Those in the highest family income-based fee group had higher odds of telehealth use than the lowest family income-based fee group,” stated the authors. “As telehealth will likely continue to play an important role in health care delivery, additional efforts/investments are required to ensure telehealth does not further exacerbate inequities in pediatric health care access.”

Also in this issue is the article titled “Mobile Medical Clinics in the United States Post-Affordable Care Act: An Integrative Review” by Angela Coaston, Ph.D., RN, from the University of California San Francisco, School of Nursing, and co-authors. They found that mobile medical clinics “provide a return on investment through emergency room avoidance, decreasing hospital length of stay and improving chronic disease management.” They concluded, “As the importance of social determinants of health and community-clinical connections are recognized, mobile medical clinics are positioned to inform policy, to improve chronic disease health outcomes, and to advance health equity among vulnerable populations.”

In the article titled “A Tale of Four Babies: Health Equity at the Center of the Quadruple Aim,” J. Nwando Olayiwola, MD, MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President at Humana, Inc. observes that communities of color were the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. She examines the foundational roots of this inequity, “specifically the entrenched structural racism that shapes the policies that ultimately shape the health outcomes.” She also provides a historical perspective on racism in American health care. She points to the Quadruple Aim as having become the gold standard in health care: “Prioritizing patient experience, reducing costs, addressing population health, and tending to the providers that deliver that care.”

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