Underserved populations can include racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, the homeless, low-income individuals, the uninsured and people who live in communities that are socioeconomically disadvantaged, rural or have few health care resources. People in these communities often face a complex set of challenges related to health and health care delivery. Not only can they face cultural, linguistic and financial barriers, but they also can be at higher risk for disease, face poorer health outcomes and have limited access to health care services.
On April 14-15, 2021, the NHLBI convened a virtual research event aimed at using technology to improve heart, lung blood and sleep health in historically underserved, low-resource and remote communities. During the two-day event, approximately 1,800 researchers, implementation scientists, technology and medical device experts, and community and federal health leaders came together to discuss potential sustainable and affordable technology solutions, effective community-based strategies and innovative models for disease management and diagnosis in underserved populations. The goal of the workshop was to identify potential technology barriers and solutions for disease diagnosis and management in these groups, highlight the ones that could have the greatest impact, and determine the ones best suited for further research.
On the first day, experts focused on recent research on diagnostic tools for heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, implementation systems, and insights on applying these systems to improve health outcomes in underserved populations. On the second day, federal and community leaders shared successful stakeholder partnerships that could serve as models. They also discussed areas that needed improvement. In addition, speakers and participants discussed implementation challenges and collectively brainstormed ways to apply these advancements and innovations to heart, lung, blood and sleep conditions for underserved populations.
Watch the NIH Videocast: