Who is most likely to feel the impact of soaring health care costs and cuts in government spending? It’s those that have historically been underrepresented in the US: older low-income adults, people with mental illness, and racial/ethnic minority patients.
New technologies can improve the health and wellness of underrepresented groups, but despite the recent growth in the use of high-tech health devices such as exercise trackers and heart rate monitors, groups are being left behind.
Since the potential for new technologies is significant, it is high time for an actual focus on inclusion in health care. But the industry seems barely aware of a glaring problem: technology is only available to a privileged class. Technological innovation is currently causing differences in health among different populations, which has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that “individuals of higher socioeconomic status (SES) are the first to adopt, and benefit most from, the introduction of innovative technologies in health, creating social inequalities in health where they were once very low or nonexistent.” For example, a 2016 study reported that over 50 percent of people in poverty in the United States no longer have a landline telephone, disrupting access to health care and social services. Researchers must understand the challenges faced by disadvantaged groups and work with communities to build modern tools that can improve health. This means that community members must be active