Digitizing the Safety Net: Health Tech Opportunities for the Underserved

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn


A growing wave of digital innovations are taking advantage of the move toward value-based payment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the simultaneous drop in the cost of digital technologies. Many of these innovations are focused on the health care safety net, where urban and rural providers struggle to serve more patients whose needs are not necessarily met through the traditional 9-to-5 model.

A number of these programs have features that make them especially convenient and usable for underserved consumers. The report offers specific examples of programs that appeal to this market by:

  • Using texting
  • Customizing language and communication style
  • Delivering health information via portals and kiosks
  • Delivering health information via video, telephone, or cable (“telehealth”)
  • Combining medical and social services
  • Leveraging a trusted human being
  • Collecting data passively

The author, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, who writes the Health Populi blog, sees the safety net as a valuable launching ground to prove the worth of quality-enhancing, cost-reducing technologies.

The complete report is available as a Document Download.