When Black History week was established in 1926, Carter G. Woodson understood the importance of choosing an annual theme to highlight important aspects of the Black experience that deserve attention. We are excited that this year’s theme of Black Health and Wellness has focused not just on the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners, but also on initiatives that seek to level the economic and health disparities that communities and people of color often face. We believe Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) can be a powerful force for increasing healthcare equity, and expanding access and quality outcomes for all.
African American Health Making Incremental Progress
Historically, communities of color in the United States have faced disproportionate health challenges. Fortunately, however, there is evidence of this improving in recent years. For the African American population in particular, life expectancy is on the rise. The death rate has declined 25% from 1999 to 2015, especially for those over 65. Deaths from heart disease decreased 43%, deaths from cancer declined 29% and deaths from strokes dropped 41%.
While this is a step in the right direction, more work still needs to be done within the healthcare system. Black and African American individuals have higher rates of chronic diseases than white Americans and often report an inability to access care due to cost and other barriers.
Opportunities Exist to Improve Health Outcomes
There are still substantial opportunities to improve health among the African American community, particularly with respect to managing chronic diseases. According to the CDC, chronic diseases often strike African Americans younger and are undiagnosed or untreated, leading to more adverse outcomes and premature deaths.
- African Americans ages 18-49 are twice as likely to die from heart disease than white Americans
- African Americans age 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than white Americans and less likely to have blood pressure under control
- African Americans age 35-54 have 4 times the death rate from stroke than white Americans
- African Americans are 60% more likely to have diabetes and suffer more severe outcomes from diabetes, 2.5 times more likely to have limb amputations, and 5.6 times more likely to have kidney disease
- African Americans have three times the death rate from asthma than white Americans
- African American women were 50% more likely to be obese than white, non-Hispanic Americans
Simply put, these health disparities are unacceptable. As an industry, we must work harder to improve these outcomes.
How Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) Can Help
The CDC’s guidance on continuing to provide equal opportunities to accessing healthcare include:
- “Use proven programs to reduce disparities and barriers to create opportunities for health.”
- “Link more people to doctors, nurses, or community health centers to encourage regular and follow-up medical visits.”
Among hypertensive patients using Optimize Health’s managed RPM service, an 11-point decrease in systolic BP and 7-point decrease in diastolic blood pressure within the first three months of monitoring has been seen.
As a remote care technology, RPM easily links more patients to clinicians for ongoing monitoring and coaching. With RPM, practices can use technology and innovative care to literally meet people where they are, making care convenient and accessible even in rural or low-income areas.
Additionally, many Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are beginning to offer RPM services as they recognize the power of this technology to deliver care to patients that may not otherwise have the resources to access or pay for preventive care.
Ready to Learn More?
We are happy to share more details on how RPM can help improve patient access to preventative care and health outcomes. Optimize is proud to partner with FQHCs to help them manage their high-risk populations. Set up a time with an RPM expert and together we can increase access to high-quality care for all. Contact us to learn more.
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