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The Role of Health IT in Measuring and Reducing Disparities (Text Version)

Slide presentation from the AHRQ 2009 conference.

On September 14, 2009, Garth N. Graham made this presentation at the 2009 Annual Conference. Select to access the Microsoft PowerPoint file Microsoft PowerPoint version - 784 KB

Slide 1

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The Role of Health IT in Measuring and Reducing Disparities

Garth N. Graham, MD, MPH
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health
Office of Minority Health
Office of the Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
September 14, 2009


Slide 2

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Background on the Office of Minority Health

  • Established 1986, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • Mission - To improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations
  • Develop health policies and programs that promote the elimination of health disparities
  • Advise the HHS Secretary and the Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) on public health activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders


Slide 3

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Health Divide

  • 1985- "Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Black and Minority Health"
  • Institute of Medicine (IOM) "Unequal Treatment
  • Healthy People 2010 and now 2020 National Health goals for the nation "including the elimination of health disparities and now moving toward Health Equity
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-National Healthcare Disparities Reports-Annual reports cards on the health status of racial/ethnic minority populations


Slide 4

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Health Information Technology—A Tool to Reduce Health Disparities

  • Increasing the use of internet, cell phones, text messaging, e-health, and other information technologies among racial and ethnic minority populations
  • Increasing the adoption of information technologies by safety net providers
  • Use of these technologies have the potential to facilitate behavior change, improve health care, and enhance health outcomes


Slide 5

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Types of Challenges for Racial Ethnic Communities

  • Trust
  • Privacy
  • Culture Differences
  • Language
  • Limited Access to Technology
  • Literacy
  • Education


Slide 6

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African-Americans—Closing the Digital Divide

BusinessWeek* reported "in the past two years, African Americans have been devouring broadband technology—and the digital divide has shrunk significantly... Some of the closing of the racial divide can be traced to falling prices and rising availability of new technology."

  • The share of black households with a cable modem, DSL, or satellite Internet connection climbed to 40% this year. That's almost twice as fast as the growth of broadband penetration for the general population, which grew to 47%."


Slide 7

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Findings from NORC Environmental Scan

Review of published and unpublished literature on underserved and health information technology.

  • Health IT is not a magic bullet
    • Technology must be part of a broader initiative to address root causes and structural barriers
  • External barriers for the underserved and their provider persist
    • Slow provider adoption stems from constrained finances
    • Underserved families face myriad daily challenges
  • Digital divide is diminishing but still a factor
    • Income and internet access correlation is less direct, but persistent
    • Most have internet access, even lowest economic groups


Slide 8

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HIT Collaborative for the Underserved


An interconnected public and private health system where all consumers have access to high quality, affordable care and to the information and technology resources required to maximize their access and effective use of health care services.


Reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities experienced by medically underserved areas and populations through the use of advances in health IT.

Incorporate experience from both the public and private sectors to improve the health of communities and populations that have historically had the worst health outcomes and the least access to care.

Next meeting Monday, September 21, 2009


Slide 9

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IOM Report: Race, Ethnicity, Language Data Standardization for Health Care Quality Improvement (released August 31, 2009)

Recommendation 6-1b:

HHS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) should adopt standards for including electronic health records the variables of race, Hispanic ethnicity, granular ethnicity, and language need identified in this report.


Slide 10

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A Future of Opportunities

"Life is filled with golden opportunities, carefully disguised as irresolvable problems."

--John Gardner
former Secretary of Health, Education and & Welfare


Slide 11

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Contact Information

Garth Graham, MD, MPH

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health
HHS/Office of Minority Health
Rockville, MD
(240) 453-2882

Current as of December 2009
Internet Citation: The Role of Health IT in Measuring and Reducing Disparities (Text Version). December 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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