The image provides a pretty concise view on some of the prevailing thoughts on the use of consumer’s mobile technology and how perceptions of the technology might potentially improve patient outcomes.
Not surprising, one third of smart phone users look up health information on their devices via the web. Most surprising to me, though, is that according to the graphic, 25 percent of low-income adults own a smartphone; I shouldn’t be surprised given people’s passion for the latest devices. Hopefully, though, this will help improve their care and outcomes, individuals who, of course, would likely fall into the class of people most likely needing care but not receiving it or receiving it through non-traditional means.
If nothing else, as Aetna suggests through the image is that technology and personal devices may allow greater access to care and to information to improve care.
Such technology, and its use, is clearly the future of individual care and actionable outcomes for individuals. I only wonder what it will take to harness and implement real programs that help real people received sustainable care and guidance at the individual level, and how long it will take to become wide spread
Garth Graham, M.D., M.P.H., specializing in cardiology, is the current president of the Aetna Foundation and former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during both the Bush and Obama administrations. Here he discusses the Aetna Foundation, improving quality of care, how the health IT community continues to change, how can it best be used as a positive tool for better health outcomes, even at the individual level.
Tell me about the Aetna Foundation and your role within the organization? How does the Foundation impact healthcare community?
The Aetna Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Aetna, Inc. funding a number of activities across the country that promote thought-leadership and community-based impact as well as research around improving health outcomes. As the Foundation’s president, I oversee the philanthropic work, including grant-making strategies aimed at improving the health of people from underserved communities.
Overall, at the Aetna Foundation we seek to impact the healthcare community by supporting research and organizations focused on improving the health and wellness of individuals throughout the United States.
How do you go about working to improve the health status and quality of care of the individual and community?
Our Digital Health Initiative is the most recent example of our efforts to fund both national and local programs that are striving to limit healthcare disparities among vulnerable populations, as well as increase positive health and wellness outcomes for individuals. Through this initiative, we are supporting technology that can empower individuals with the convenience and control to meet their personal health and wellness goals.
We hope that by arming individuals with the best possible tools to improve their health, we can ultimately build healthier communities.