High tech gadgets designed to help you keep tabs on your health are everywhere these days. From tracking your sleep to taking your blood pressure…..there’s even a smartphone case that can take an electrocardiogram!
But a new study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology questions whether these new health tools will help the people who need it most. From NPR.com:
…not everyone may benefit, and e-health interventions may widen, not shrink, health disparities.
Patients who were poor, black, older, unmarried or on Medicare or Medicaid were less likely to use an electronic health record portal to manage their chronic kidney disease, according to the study. That’s especially worrisome because there are already big differences along race and socioeconomic lines when it comes to chronic kidney disease, says senior author Khaled Abdel-Kader. “When you see these disparities sort of reinforced by new technological disparities, that is a bit worrisome that we may be taking a step back,” says Abdel-Kader, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University.
The article offers a potential solution by suggesting that when creating an e-health intervention, providers might consider surveying patients ahead of time to see how they access the Internet, whether they prefer to use a smartphone or a computer, or whether they might like to receive training. Researchers believe the key is to better understand the patient population before creating the tools.
Share your thoughts on how high tech health tools might benefit the people of Arizona…..and how you think we can get those tools into the hands of the people who need them most.