The disproportionate toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and lower-income communities highlighted long-standing disparities in health and health care. Addressing these disparities requires fundamental changes to health care delivery; more equitable outcomes will not be achieved without changing the underlying system.
The renewed focus on health equity comes at a time of rapid digital transformation of the health care system. This transformation offers an opportunity to address many core health equity challenges. Digital health involves digitally enabled tools and environments to augment in-person health care with digital communication, education, and remote care management. These approaches have the potential to address some of the structural challenges for marginalized populations, including lowering access barriers of time and distance and providing tailored communication by language and literacy. Yet the digitization of health care can also harm health equity if this digitally enabled ecosystem moves forward without proactive engagement, planning, and implementation.