How should our country use technology to strengthen community health? Thanks for asking!
In early 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requested information and ideas for strengthening community health through technology. CITRIS Health partner MITRE Corporation answered the call with ideas drawn from a strategic framework with six priorities for the rapidly changing digital health landscape. These include forming a connected health ecosystem define by timely, secure data exchange; empowering individuals with stronger rights to data ownership and digital literacy resources; growing digital equity to achieve health equity; strengthening community health by making timely sharing of integrated data the norm; building a workforce with technology skills; and establishing artificial intelligence as a trusted cornerstone of digital health.
Among other examples, the MITRE team highlighted the Accountability, Coordination, and Telehealth in the Valley to Achieve Transformation and Equity (ACTIVATE) program as a model for how patients, providers, and community health workers can adapt technology in new ways to improve clinical outcomes. The ACTIVATE program helps community health center providers connect with their patients using remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices for high blood pressure and diabetes. Along with coaching from medical assistants and community health workers, the devices support self-management of these chronic conditions, earning support from patients and providers alike. The model shows promise for rural areas as well as other settings where in-person visits are infrequent or difficult to sustain. The technology makes ongoing contact and connection more likely, but it is the humans involved who are changing clinical outcomes for the better and increasing equity for rural chronic disease patients as they do so.