Back to the Future: Achieving Health Equity Through Health Informatics and Digital Health

Brewer, LaPrincess C.; Fortuna, Karen L.; Jones, Clarence; Walker, Robert; Hayes, Sharonne N.; Patten, Christi A.; Cooper, Lisa A.
JMIR mHealth and uHealth

The rapid proliferation of health informatics and digital health innovations has revolutionized clinical and research practices. There is no doubt that these fields will continue to have accelerated growth and a substantial impact on population health. However, there are legitimate concerns about how these promising technological advances can lead to unintended consequences such as perpetuating health and health care disparities for underresourced populations. To mitigate this potential pitfall, it is imperative for the health informatics and digital health scientific communities to understand the challenges faced by disadvantaged groups, including racial and ethnic minorities, which hinder their achievement of ideal health. This paper presents illustrative exemplars as case studies of contextually tailored, sociotechnical mobile health interventions designed with community members to address health inequities using community-engaged research approaches. We strongly encourage researchers and innovators to integrate community engagement into the development of data-driven, modernized solutions for every sector of society to truly achieve health equity for all.