Health Information Technology and Equity: Applying History's Lessons to Tomorrow's Innovations

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Health and health care disparities are widespread with major impacts on outcomes for children and families. Inequitable care is poor quality care. Though health IT has the potential to improve disparities, health IT implementation can have unintended consequences of widening, maintaining, or creating disparities by disproportionately benefiting advantaged children, adolescents, and their caregivers. Narrowing disparities can be achieved by embracing an approach that places marginalized patients at the center of health IT design and implementation. Health care systems can leverage the disparity-reducing potential of health information technologies by housing innovation within an equity framework. Initial steps include evaluating for disparities exacerbated by health IT, implementing universal precautions to prevent health IT intervention-generated inequalities, and co-designing future innovations with marginalized communities. By directly addressing community needs, health IT systems designed to effectively benefit underserved children, adolescents, and their caregivers have the potential to yield more equitable health care IT, and better outcomes for our young patients.

Authors:

Craig S, McPeak KE, Madu C, Dalembert G