AAMC Responds to OSTP Request on Strengthening Community Health Through Technology

The AAMC and the AAMC Center for Health Justice submitted a letter to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on March 30 in response to a January 5 request. Information request on how digital technologies are being used to transform community health, individual well-being and health equity.

This request is part of a larger program run by OSTP Connected community health initiative, created to better understand how science and technology can increase access to quality health care by “meeting people where they are in their communities”. As the OSTP notes, “[d]Despite decades of investment in the digital health ecosystem, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light substantial and persistent limitations in American health systems, including deep disparities in health care and health outcomes. more mediocre associates within certain communities. Yet the pandemic has also provided an opportunity for innovation in the delivery of health care in the United States and around the world, especially in community settings. The AAMC expressed appreciation for the ministry’s interest in advancing these critical issues and agreed that while digital technology has improved during the pandemic, it has also amplified the disparate impacts of technology on some communities.

The AAMC Center for Health Justice has previously expressed support for the federal government’s interest in expanding equity-focused methods and approaches across government, recommending the need for direct feedback from individuals. and communities closest to injustice and inequity. [refer to Washington Highlights, July 9, 2021]. In its response to the OSTP, the AAMC reiterated this recommendation, suggesting that the OSTP take immediate steps to establish a role in the initiative for “community anchors”, trusted individuals or organizations of a specific community that would help build meaningful relationships between federal government and community partners. Additional recommendations to improve the use of digital technologies include:

  • By using the AAMC Center for Health Justice Principles of Reliability as a resource to facilitate communication with community stakeholders and develop strategies and new approaches to advance equity.
  • Extend telehealth waivers and flexibilities beyond the public health emergency to ensure patients continue to have access to care. This should include the removal of Medicare patient location restrictions and rural site requirements to allow service delivery via telehealth in any geographic location (including home), payment for audio-only services, and reimbursement for telehealth services at the same level as an in-person visit to support the necessary infrastructure.
  • Facilitate interagency coordination by sharing feedback received from this RFI, in addition to aligning the work of the initiative with departments and agencies working on health technology issues, including: the impact of structural bias in machine learning algorithms, interoperability of electronic health records and standardization of data elements across systems, funding for community organizations, and integration of patient experience into healthcare technology design and development. health (eg, facilitating use among populations).

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