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Why Aren’t Our Digital Solutions Working for Everyone?

The article explores a digital injustice that is occurring across the country: that digital solutions intended to increase health care access and quality often neglect those that need them most. It further shows that when it comes to digital innovation, health care professionals and technology companies rarely have any incentives to focus on underserved populations.

Nevertheless, we argue that the technologies that are leaving these communities behind are the same ones that can best support them. The key is in leveraging these technologies with: (a) design features that accommodate various levels of technological proficiency (e-literacy), (b) tech-enabled community health workers and navigators who can function as liaisons between patients and clinicians, and (c) analytics and customer relationship management tools that enable health care professionals and support networks to provide the right interventions to the right patients. Finally, we argue that community health care workers will need to be incentivized to play a larger role in building and adopting innovations targeting the underserved.

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