Digital medicine and racial equity: how to bridge the gap?

Despite the significant societal advances, racism remains a key barrier to equity in healthcare. Continuously emerging data demonstrate that structural and systemic discrimination significantly affect the quality of the provided healthcare services. Consequently, racial equity remains a controversial topic in digitalmedicine. In an editorial by Raza, Venkatesh, and Kvedar, recently published in NPJ Digital Medicine, considering the emerging racial issues with digital technologies in healthcare, propose the application of a previously adapted framework, namely the R4P framework, to three key areas i.e. artificial intelligence applications, wearables, and telehealth. The R4P stands for Remove, Repair, Restructure, Remediate, and is initially proposed by Golden et al., as a framework to be implemented against racism and healthcare disparities in reproductive health, as mentioned by the authors of the editorial. The R4P approach, as described and analyzed in the editorial and the accompanying table, provides directions and rule-based actions that could be implemented when developing and applying digital health innovations, in order to gradually move towards equitable healthcare services and digital health tools.

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