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The Equiva ACP Connect Program allows healthcare organizations to engage digitally with patients
Health disparities are a big and expensive problem in the U.S, costing $42 billion in lowered productivity and $93 billion in excess medical costs each year. Part of this is a lack of access to broadband: 19 million Americans, or 6% of the population, still lack access to fixed broadband service and it's even worse in rural areas, where 14.5 million people still lack access.
That's why the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) last year, a federal program that gives eligible households a monthly discount toward broadband service and a discount toward a connected device.
On Tuesday, Equiva Health, a digital patient engagement and health relationship management provider, announced a new partnership with wireless internet service provider Infiniti Mobile to help bridge those gaps. Together the two companies are launching the Equiva ACP Connect Program, which is designed to help hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare organizations enroll patients and engage digitally with those individuals for targeted health initiatives.
"The offering goes well beyond the basics of ACP enrollment by giving healthcare entities a digital platform to quickly, cost-effectively, and cohesively deploy care management services to at-risk patient groups," Nir Altman, the company's co-founder and CEO, told VatorNews.
"The program helps organizations narrow gaps in the digital divide, and supports initiatives to improve clinical and financial outcomes by helping individuals manage their health more effectively."
With Equiva ACP Connect, healthcare organizations will be able to configure tablets and aggregate the display of population-targeted educational resources and care management tools. Additionally, Equiva provides a service to distribute these tablets to enrollees via healthcare facilities or direct to individual homes.
"We’ve found that many healthcare executives seem overwhelmed by misconceptions that adopting health equity-oriented digital technology is overly complex and costly. The reality is that it doesn’t need to be. The Equiva ACP Connect Program supports flexible, quick, easy and low-cost planning and deployment," Altman said.
While the ACP is open to households in which at least one member is already enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, WIC, Tribal-specific programs, and other government assistance programs, the majority are not enrolled: while 48 million households, nearly 40% of the households in the U.S., are eligible, the FCC says that only 15.4 million households had subscribed as of January 2023, and less than 15% of eligible Medicaid patients had enrolled.
What Infiniti Mobile provides in this partnership with Equiva is the ability to assist eligible participants by providing accessible wireless broadband connections through the FCC administered ACP program.
"As a wireless broadband provider, Infiniti was initially founded to provide quality low-cost wireless solutions supported by their participation in the Lifeline and ACP programs," said Altman.
"Infiniti takes great pride in supporting the FCC in helping ensure households can afford the broadband they need for healthcare, school, work and more, which made them a perfect fit to partner with and together create this ACP Connect Program for health care organizations."
Founded in 2012, the New York City-based Equiva Health is focused on health equity and helping health organizations, such as hospitals, payers, long term care facilities and support organizations, partner with the patients in their care and improve health outcomes.
The company provides a health relationship management software platform which allows health organizations to deploy digital health solutions to patients and their loved ones, including apps, education videos and resources that address health equity and disparities in care. Tablets are deployed at healthcare facility bedsides, in outpatient environments, and in home settings, enabling patients and their loved ones to use its platform at home.
"Equiva was developed on the philosophy that humanity will be better served when every person is connected to the individuals, information, and experiences that support overall well-being," said Altman.
"Patients, loved ones, and healthcare professionals deserve a more equitable, less fragmented system where transformative technology yields powerful intelligence that promotes targeted care and wellness," he said.
Currently, Equiva’s solutions are being used in dozens of healthcare organizations, and its devices and solutions support thousands of interactions daily across more than 800 deployments. Its customers include some of the largest health organizations in the country, including HCA and Providence, as well as more regional health systems such as Mount Sinai, Hackensack Meridian, and Northwell Health.
With the launch of its ACP program, the company wants to help healthcare organizations advance opportunities for individuals to become more engaged in their healthcare.
"Our technology allows ACP enrollees to use their connectivity to access valuable healthcare resources and tools from our healthcare partners that they haven’t been able to previously. Additionally, our underlying technology ensures that users of the tablets we distribute can connect to the internet and can also download applications to support remote work and education needs," Altman said.
"Successfully helping our healthcare partners digitally engage populations of patients with their healthcare who have previously been left out of digital health advancements would be a win for us. Through this program we want to help bridge gaps in the digital divide and to improve outcomes by helping individuals manage their health more effectively."
(Image source: equivahealth.com)
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