Nearly every chronic health condition has an increased prevalence with declining income; in fact, the life expectancy of the wealthiest American is ten to fifteen years longer than that of the poorest. Health disparities negatively affect people who experience larger obstacles to achieving optimal health due to lack of access to care. Healthcare systems face many challenges; chronic illnesses such as stroke, arthritis, and heart disease, which are most prevalent in the vulnerable patient populations most affected by health disparities, strain the system. Innovative health technology has the potential to reduce disparities in healthcare and promote health equity.
One of the primary ways in which health information technology eliminates health disparities is via mechanisms that facilitate information sharing. Health information technology can be utilized to standardize and collect data, report clinical quality measures, and provide meaningful insights into comprehensive information to public health agencies, which can then be turned into action to enhance clinical care and improve population health.