Speaking Up for Kids

We launched our first white paper, The Health Technology Revolution: Closing the Gap for Children in Poverty, at the Children’s Health Fund 2015 Spring Conference in Washington, DC.  At this conference, doctors from Children’s Health Fund mobile clinics across the country took the message of expanded access to care through technology to Capitol Hill. They visited dozens of congressional offices, reaching out directly to their elected representatives to seek their support for measures aimed at closing the health care gap for children across America. That message will be reinforced at a mid-year Congressional briefing aimed at launching a national discussion on investing in technology to reduce inequality in access to care. This briefing will bring lawmakers together with educators, key influencers and policy experts for maximal impact. The focus of our advocacy with leaders at the national and state level includes:

  • When new health technologies, hardware and software, require federal approval, a criterion that the relevant government agency should use is whether the technology can be applied to improve access and quality of health care for children.
  • The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should create a $100 million special fund to incentivize the development of technologies to improve accessibility and quality of health care for medically underserved children.
  • Training curricula for health sciences students and providers should include education regarding the effective use of technology in improving health care in general and for underserved pediatric populations in general. Efforts should be made, supported by strategic public awareness and education campaigns, to ensure that families fully understand how new technologies can improve the quality and availability of health information relevant to their children.
  • New technologies must be designed for or adapted to the needs of children. Electronic health records, for example, have been in use for decades but commercially available electronic health records still often fail to be appropriate for child health care.
  • Innovative ways to make health care more accessible and efficient, especially for underserved children, must be financially supported. Disruptive changes to the system – mobile medical clinics, telehealth, mobile communication between doctor and patient (e.g., text messaging), have moved health care delivery beyond the doctor’s office, but insurance reimbursement has not followed.

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