In a recent blog, American Health Insurance Provider (AHIP) emphasized the need to fill the gaps between technology and rural and underserved communities in the nation. The urge to stay safe in the precarious conditions of COVID-19 compelled the introduction of telehealth: the digital transformation of health care. It not only stimulated the health sector and the payer business but also exposed social inequities.
- According to AHIP brief, Bridging the Digital Divide, ” Vulnerable populations may have reduced or lost income and dropped their internet or data plans to save money, turned off smartphones they can no longer afford, and lost passage to publicly available Wi-Fi with the closing of schools and libraries”.New technologies have no doubt improved the health conditions of the people. It has not only smoothened and sped up information exchange among providers but also reduced opportunities for miscommunications. But the major question arises, ” Where does it leave those people who are unable to opt for digital health due to inability and inaccessibility?”
- Jill Selby, SCAN SVP of Product Development and Market Expansion said in reply, ” During the pandemic, in-person visits to doctors have largely been replaced by telehealth visits. Recognizing that many of our managers lack digital fluency for various reasons, SCAN developed Healthtech, and designed tech support line staffed with live experts”.
- Launched in 2021, SCAN support has shown to benefit specialized support over the phone to members and can even help them set up an email account, and access the telehealth platforms like Zoom, FaceTime, and many more without any additional charge. SCAN is also expanding the service widely, including via print newsletters and direct referrals to the helpline when members call Member Service for Assistance.
- Along with SCAN, different other prominent healthcare providers are too trying to contribute to linking the bridge. For example, Centene and CareOregon are presenting smartphones and tablets to patients in those areas to expand their virtual capacity. Blue Shield of California has opened “telehealth clubs” so that members without any digital connection can access virtual health.