The burden of negative health outcomes is, unfortunately, differential in the United States (US) and other countries, a phenomenon known as health disparities. Health disparities are differences the incidence and prevalence of disease, as well as disease-related morbidity, mortality and survival rates in one group when compared to the general population. Health disparities may emerge on the basis of socially stratifying factors such as socioeconomic status, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and place of residence. Critically, although there have been significant, coordinated governmental investments of resources to eliminate health disparities over the past 25 years in the US and elsewhere, there remain substantial and troubling inequities.
Sociotechnical interventions involving health information technologies hold promise for reducing disparities and improving the health of marginalized populations – but this potential is yet to be fully realized. At the same time, researchers must take care when developing any sociotechnical intervention in the health domain, since such interventions can generate unintended consequences that exacerbate disparities.
In this IPaT Thursday Think Tank, we will bring together researchers from Georgia Tech, Emory, the Morehouse School of Medicine and Columbia Medical School to briefly present insights from recent projects that aim to combine new approaches in health IT to address healthcare disparities. Following we will have a lively discussion of what our research community should do going forward.
Tabia Akintobi, Associate Professor, Morehouse School of Medicine
Lena Mamykina, Associate Professor, Columbia University Medical School
Beth Mynatt, Executive Director, Institute for People and Technology at Georgia Tech