Technology Record - Issue 23: Winter 21/22

156 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted that the gaps in our delivery system have led to a lack of equality in healthcare. It’s worth noting that equality is not the same as equity. As Evelyn Lewis, doctor of medicine and co-founder of Warrior Centric Health, pointed out in a recent meeting, equality is offering the same thing; equity is providing what is needed. According to the CDC’s report, Paving the Road to Health Equity, the US Department of Health and Human Services, defines health equity as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Population-level factors, such as the physical, built, social and policy environments, can have a greater impact on health outcomes than individual-level factors. The root causes of health inequity can be directly linked to a failure to address these population-level factors, one community at a time. In addition, linkages between science, policy and practice are critical to achieving health equity.” We are now at an inflection point where what is needed to provide health equity is excruciatingly evident. As noted in a recent blog post by David Rhew, chief medical officer at Microsoft, “there is an urgent need to extend essential services and offerings to those who are disadvantaged due to socio-economic factors, racial injustice, advanced age and other differentiators that are biological or societal in nature. Microsoft is working closely with our customers, public health teams, and partners across the globe to achieve more for the communities they serve” Microsoft is also helping early-stage companies affect positive change for underserved communities, expanding access to quality healthcare services, providing what is needed not just what is equal. Here are some companies doing pioneering work in the space. HUED Healthcare access remains a prevailing problem for people of colour. In fact, black and Latin American people experience 30 to 40 per cent poorer health outcomes than their white counterparts. Research shows that people of colour are not getting the health and medical care they need because of fear, access to quality healthcare, distrust of doctors and because their symptoms and pains are often dismissed. HUED is a platform committed to eliminating health disparities and improving overall patient outcomes for black, Latin American, and indigenous people. How do they do it? By designing equity-based education, enabling access to culturally sensitive healthcare providers, and empowering patients to make data-informed decisions about their healthcare. HUED’s e-learning platform provides education regarding health disparities that impact black, Latin American, and indigenous patients with the goal of improving patient care, patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Improving healthcare equity Despite the innovative technology available today, there are still communities that struggle to access quality healthcare services. Microsoft is working with start-ups in the industry to change this S A L LY F RANK : M I C ROSOF T V I EWPO I NT “Microsoft is helping early-stage companies affect positive change for underserved communities”