Defining Health Disparities
There are two prevailing definitions of health disparities:
- The Department of Health and Human Services describes health disparities as “differences in health outcomes that are closely linked with social, economic, and environmental disadvantage.”
- The National Institutes of Health defines a health disparity as a “difference in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of disease and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States.”
Regardless of the nuanced definition, the healthcare ecosystem recognizes that closing care gaps will reduce inequality across racial, ethnic, and/or socioeconomic factors while increasing all patient populations’ access to timely, quality care.
Addressing Health Disparities
Home health agencies are using technology to strengthen patient access to their staff and care, thereby providing their community with more equitable opportunities to achieve better health. With the Synzi virtual care communication platform, home health clinicians are able to effectively address health disparities by providing:
Greater Access to Answers Around the Clock:
With Synzi’s virtual care communication platform, a home health agency can provide patients (and their family caregivers) with immediate access to available nurses for afterhours and weekend support. Patients or caregivers can reach out via HIPAA-compliant video, secure messaging, email and text with a pressing question regarding medication or a change in condition. Teletriage staff members can quickly respond to the patient’s need and then determine if an in-person visit to the patient’s home (or a transfer to a care facility) is needed.
More Convenient Access to Care in Rural Areas
: As shortages of home health clinicians exist in rural communities, Synzi’s platform enables staff to bridge the geographic gap and extend care virtually to more rural patients. Synzi’s virtual care platform functions on any cellular, limited broadband, or Wi-Fi This is critical for rural patients who may have limited connectivity and thus experience geographic isolation when trying to access timely, quality care.
Greater Access to Specialists:
Synzi’s platform also enables home health clinicians to share progress and concerns with a specialist (or the referring physician) via video and secure messaging while interacting with a patient. During an in-person or video-based visit, a remote specialist can assess the patient’s condition and provide guidance on-demand, accelerating the timing of needed care decisions.
More Access to Frequent and Relevant Touchpoints:
By using Synzi’s platform to schedule a cascade of emails or texts, home health agencies can provide their patients with ongoing health coaching and condition-specific management. Patients (and their caregivers) receive timely message which motivate medication adherence as well as promote necessary diet, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations. Ongoing messaging can also be translated into the patient’s primary or preferred language to deepen patient understanding and engagement across all patient populations.