The Health Disparity of Information Access

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn | Healthcare IT News | January 23, 2017

Among many health disparities which mar healthcare quality in the United States, there’s another one to add to the list: health and healthcare information access.

Access to healthcare is underpinned in large part on a health consumer’s access to information about available health care services, their location, price, and if the patient is very fortunate to glean, quality. As people take on more responsibility for managing their health care utilization and financing in America, their access to information that is easy-to-find, clear, comprehensive and current is critical to personal and public health outcomes.

But consumers are dissatisfied with the state of health care information in their lives, discovered through a survey supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Oliver Wyman, and conducted by the Altarum Institute. Results of this study were published in the report, Right Place, Right Time: Health Information and Vulnerable Populations. Oliver Wyman featured these findings in a conversation held at the World Economic Forum in Davos week titled, Vulnerable Populations and the Great Health Divide.

The study’s top-line insight was that vulnerable US health citizens are health information-compromised. This group of people tends to be uninsured, Spanish-speaking, caregiving, and enrolled in Medicaid. The lack of health/care information access jeopardizes care access and quality, putting people at-risk for worse health outcomes, eventual higher costs, and greater burden of disease compared with people who enjoy health information access...