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Aetna Foundation Digital Health Initiative Seeks to Help Vulnerable and Minority Populations

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Aetna Foundation.

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Everyone deserves access to proper healthcare regardless of their financial status or proximity to a health facility. However, the first step towards ensuring a healthy life is getting the right information. Most of the diseases that we end up in hospital for could easily be prevented if we have access to preventive measures and services. Growing up in NYC, I knew many people who struggled with this. There were quite a few immigrant families in my neighborhood.  Many of whom were not fluent in the English language and worked in low paying jobs that did not offer health insurance, so access to healthcare was pretty much non-existent for them.

For a long time, vulnerable groups like this have not been able to get the right information about preventive services that could protect them from certain preventable diseases. However, this trend is changing.  A recent study conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that people between the ages of 18 to 49 are now turning to their mobile phones to obtain health information. I can totally vouch for this as I often find myself googling health information and using iPhone apps like the fitbit app to keep track of of my daily workouts.

While researching what ails you via the internet may be a good first step, you still need to know when to go in for a certain type of test depending on the symptoms and what to do to avoid the ailment in the first place. The bottom line is that you cannot maintain a healthy lifestyle without accurate health information, but solutions such as digital health technology look very promising.

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Digital health technology can help you manage your health by communicating with your health provider through digital platforms. The Aetna Foundation Digital Health Initiative has been on the forefront in the campaign for encouraging use of Health Information Technology (HIT).

The foundation believes strongly that using technology to reach out to minority groups and low income areas will be effective because they can access the information from wherever they reside. This will empower these people to make the healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and their families. For this reason, the foundation released grants to the tune of $1.2 million in support of digital health initiatives among disadvantaged group of people.

I think this is a good move and think that this technology can help everyone and not only those that are vulnerable. What do YOU think?

aetna foundation digital health initiative infographic

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Aetna Foundation.

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About the author

Diane Nassy

Diane is a New Jersey-based writer and blogger. She is a wife and the mom of a 9-year-old little boy. Through her blog, she wants to inspire moms to find Zen in their lives while offering practical tips and other valuable information to help families deal with everyday issues. Check out Diane's Google+ profile "

29 Comments

  • This issue I see with them reaching out via technology is that most poor or low income people don’t necessarily have access to these outlets. Older people and immigrants are not going to be surfing the web. Maybe it’s just me but that my two cents.

    • Amy, I kind of agree on seniors and older immigrants. But honestly? Every person I see who has assistance checks or cards at the grocery store has a smartphone. I can’t tell you how many kids I see in school who don’t even have shoelaces in their shoes but their parents have iPhone 5s or 5c or whatever. So yes, I hear you on the older folks. Although my dad has Alzheimers and we kids use technology so each of US has his medical info accessible all the time in case of emergency.

  • Sounds like a great thing they’re doing! And smart to take advantage of the digital age. Everyone has a phone it seems or access to a computer.

  • I think it is a great idea to make health info available with a app. Great job for Aetna being a leader in health education!

  • Here in Massachusetts, everyone is required to have health insurance. If you don’t have a job or whatnot, you need to apply for health insurance through the state otherwise there are MAJOR tax penalties.

  • Going the digital route makes a lot of sense. With the vast majority now using mobile devices for everything, it is a way to make sure that this information will be readily accessible.

  • What a great foundation. People are always focusing on the bad part of technology when they are so many good parts as well.

  • I think all income brackets are crossed with cell phones, so hopefully people really will turn to them and seek out some info.

  • Totally guilty of using my phone to look up health care advice and I live in a country with free health care. Oops!!
    On the other hand we don`t have ìnsurance so we pay for eye glasses, medication and trips to the dentist.
    Thats something we have to look into now. 🙁

  • Something that was supposed to be so simple has become so complicated. Are we entitled to free health care? Come’on, nothing is free! Someone’s going to have to pay for it. I think it’s great that Aetna is helping less advantaged people, if they will take advantage of the opportunity. Maybe it’s middle class America that needs help, though. Just a thought.

  • I’ve seen even the poorest people in the Philippines holding cell phones. I know almost every American, including many children even at the age of 5 who have cell phones. So yes, technology is a major part of our lives. So should we use it to access the most important information in our lives? Our health? Absolutely!

  • with the low cost of cell phone service I do think that even the lower income families have access. I think it is a great initiative!

  • I appreciate and support the idea behind this initiative, but wonder how well it can work when many poor people do not have access to technology.

  • It’s amazing how much information is at our fingertips with our smartphones, and how much health and wellness help we can access and use if we know how to get to it. That bridge between access and use is a great digital divide. It’s great that somebody wants to help a huge sector of society connect!

  • I think that living in the digital age has helped a lot of information become more accessible. I might not be willing to randomly ask my doctor about something but I would talk to a professional online or via phone to clear my head THEN talk to my physician. Anything that helps people make decisions about their health is good.

  • I definitely think this is a good move, since most people in the US have access to technology, whether it be a smartphone, a computer at the library, or the TV.

  • My husband is a big “Dr. Google” fan. I think that digital health technology sounds really interesting and hope that it helps to spread accurate health information to everybody in need.

  • I agree with Amy. Their target audience might not have access to the internet. However, I can’t think of a better option to reach the mass public, so I still think they are doing the best they can. There is free internet access available in libraries, youth centers, etc. Hopefully between those places and word of mouth, the word will get out.