In 2014, the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved released a “good news” report. The report describes exciting opportunities to “jump start” use of health information technology (HIT) in communities of color (COC). The authors point to the explosion of mobile technology use in these communities as reason for optimism. Luis Belen, NHIT Collaborative's chief executive officer and report co-author, noted: "Research confirms that greater use of HIT among racial/ethnic minorities can help close health gaps and support higher quality care. We believe tools such as mobile health applications offer bright hope for consumers in our communities”.
Data presented in the report give reasons for hope:
The Collaborative’s report cites barriers to overcome in order to achieve mobile technology’s full potential. They include low health literacy, trust issues and the need for culturally and linguistically appropriate applications. Recommendations in the report include greater collaboration between COCs and HIT vendors; increased HIT adoption among providers serving racial/ethnic minorities; and support for HIT education initiatives conducted by COC organizations.
Danielle Brooks, J.D., the report’s principal author and a NHIT Collaborative senior consultant, offered this assessment of the report’s findings: “Something exciting is happening in our communities. We are taking our health, literally, in our own hands.” Ruth Perot, co-founder of the Collaborative and a co-author added: “Mobile devices give people of color and members of other underserved groups the power to take charge of their health. With these tools we can help halt the trends of too much disease and too many preventable deaths in our communities.”
The Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided support for research conducted for the report. Its title is: Promoting Consumer Engagement and Empowerment through the Adoption of HIT in Communities of Color.
(This report was created with funds from the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)