Connecting state and local government leaders
Expanding telehealth, partnering with local organizations and building health care teams are among the strategies, according to research.
To develop a more equitable health care system in America, several broad strategies are required, according to research by Brookings. These include: a commitment to affordable care for all U.S. residents, especially those in under-resourced communities; greater state-level experimentation; and improved financial assistance for coverage.
Here are five building blocks to reach a more equitable health care system nationwide, Brookings says.
During the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth, a service that provides virtual care to patients, became a crucial tool in health care diagnosis, treatment and triage as hospitals and clinics adapted to new conditions, according to Brookings. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of telehealth visits increased by 50% during the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same time period in 2019.
While some are concerned that telehealth will continue widening the digital health divide due to the possible difficulties older adults and less-technically skilled people may face, some institutions have said telehealth is improving the access and quality of health care.
Health Care Team Coordination
Team-based care is effective in improving the coordination, efficiency and value of care delivery for both patients and direct health providers, according to the National Academy of Medicine. Creative uses of team-based care can help address restraints in available care and produce better results.
Health care teams are two or more health care professionals who work collaboratively with patients and their caregivers to meet shared goals. A team may involve a wide range of members in various settings.
Community Group Partnerships
Key organizations within communities like religious institutions, public libraries and barbershops can help build trust and convey public health messages, another another report by Brookings shows. These important “third places” can be powerful resources for health care delivery.
Better Housing and Health Care Coordination
Housing conditions and housing-based initiatives have a vital relationship with health, leading to many proposals for coordinating housing with other services and using housing as a hub for support services, the report says.
Having health and housing partnerships that deliver coordinated care can help the housing search and medical referrals and supports, which are critical for improving the quality of life for people with complex health conditions and/or housing instability, according to a report by the Corporation for Supportive Housing, an organization that combines affordable housing with support services.
More Access to Mental Health Resources
With a shortage of mental health services–especially in low-income communities–individuals are self-managing untreated conditions that are contributing to societal-level results, including high levels of incarceration for poor individuals and people of color, the report says.
However, the American Rescue Plan Act provides new federal funding for mental health initiatives, which will allow state and local governments to support the expansions of care for the most vulnerable individuals and communities, according to Brookings.
For more information from the Brookings report click here.
Andre Claudio is an assistant editor at Route Fifty.