Promoting Health Equity for Underserved Communities with Patient Centricity

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As we reflect on the past month's celebrations for Pride and Juneteenth, we also want to recognize the challenges LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color (POC), and other underserved populations – such as rural and urban populations – face in accessing accurate, medically-sound health information and care. Despite today's technological advancements, clinical breakthroughs, and significant social and cultural progress, these groups still widely report negative experiences with the U.S. health system. 

Why is this still happening? What prevents these patients from having access to reliable medical care, and from feeling comfortable and empowered at the doctor's office? Numerous barriers often hinder their sense of comfort and empowerment: 

  • Social determinants of health, such as economic instability, limited education, and inadequate living conditions, play a significant role in this issue.  
  • Economic barriers like the lack of affordable healthcare and low income, combined with limited health literacy, make it challenging for individuals to access and understand medical information.  
  • Cultural barriers, including language differences and a lack of cultural competency among healthcare providers, could lead to misunderstandings and mistrust. 
  • Systemic racism and discrimination contribute to the distrust of the healthcare system, with historical mistrust, abuses and ongoing bias resulting in substandard care for minority groups.  
  • Geographic and logistical barriers also limit access to healthcare services, with rural areas often lacking facilities or lacking transportation, and urban areas facing overcrowding.  

And that’s before patients must navigate the complexity of the U.S. healthcare system, understand their options, and advocate for themselves. Overcoming these structural challenges is a massive undertaking with no easy solutions. However, there are tangible ways we can improve cultural competency in healthcare, increase access to resources, and enhance health education and literacy. 

How Patient Centricity Drives Better Healthcare Communications 

Ensuring fair access to and comprehension of health information is crucial for promoting inclusivity and enhancing the well-being of underserved populations. Pharma, advocacy groups, and numerous organizations make substantial investments in tackling health disparities through research funding, targeted health initiatives, and resources to enhance healthcare access. Despite progress, closing this care gap remains an ongoing effort – one we are proud to be a part of. 

At OptimizeRx, we believe that improving care for underserved populations starts with patient centricity – understanding each person’s individual healthcare needs and care journey stage, while also considering the whole person, not just their clinical data.  

We’ve worked with countless life science brands to help them raise disease and treatment awareness and give patients the information to better understand their options. In our work, we’ve seen firsthand how tailoring healthcare information delivery to reflect individuals’ social, medical, and media consumption characteristics leads to increased engagement and improved knowledge. Through technology like our Micro-Neighborhood® Targeting, life science manufacturers and other organizations can achieve both local personalization at scale, while also respecting and protecting individual patient privacy. This ensures that underserved patient communities receive vital health information directly where they live and work, on the channels they prefer, and at the times they need it, effectively bridging the information gap. 

As a member of the healthcare and life science community, we hope you’ll join us in advocating for the critical importance of delivering accurate, medically-sound health information to underserved communities. Whether it’s utilizing your networks to raise awareness, contributing to the work of patient and other advocacy groups, or rethinking how your brand deploys direct-to-consumer media, we can all play a greater part. Together, we can make patient centricity a reality for all – no matter their identity, demographics, or environment.