$100K Grant to Support Digital Readiness Toolkit
The massive surge in telehealth use during the COVID-19 pandemic has been crucial to the health of society. However, it has also highlighted vast disparities in health outcomes related to lack of digital readiness among vulnerable populations. A generous $100,000 grant from TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, along with initial seed funding provided by the Digital Literacy Alliance, will help Jefferson change that. These funds will support the development of a culturally competent digital readiness toolkit to serve the needs of Spanish-speaking communities in Philadelphia in collaboration with Esperanza Health Center.
For many, it’s easy to take access to the internet for granted. But fast, reliable internet means more than the ability to binge Netflix or online shop; broadband access is also linked to social determinants of health in the growing digital health revolution. Without reliable internet access, it’s harder to gain education at any level, harder to apply for jobs, harder to access mental health and wellness resources—and the list goes on. Despite the seemingly ubiquitous nature of the internet, the FCC reports more than 19 million Americans—roughly 6 percent of the population—lack access to broadband internet.
In Philadelphia, there are more than 150,000 Spanish-speaking citizens who struggle to access digital healthcare resources because English is not their native language. The TD grant supports the Latino Digital Health and Access Initiative, which will provide education and increase accessibility to all the resources that Jefferson offers.
“The pandemic accelerated the trend to virtual care at home, and it showed us how many people are at risk of being left behind as the digital gap grows,” said Kristin Rising, MD, director of the Jefferson Center for Connected Care. “We want to conduct the research and provide the training needed to ensure equitable virtual access as medicine uses digital tools to increasingly care for people at home.”
The Jefferson Center for Connected Care seeks to address this growing health disparity by innovating, implementing, and evaluating systems and services designed to address unmet needs that impact health outcomes of vulnerable individuals and communities.
We want to conduct the research and provide the training needed to ensure equitable virtual access as medicine uses digital tools to increasingly care for people at home.
“For people to feel confident about their future, they need to feel confident about their ability to get the care they need. Virtual care at home, particularly during the pandemic, has helped deliver care safely and easily to many. Unfortunately, we know that too many people still face barriers to getting the care they need because a lack of access to reliable internet or a lack of resources available in one’s native language. We are thrilled to support the Jefferson Center for Connected Care and are confident that this grant will help ensure more equitable access to healthcare,” said Shelley Sylva, head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank.
Jefferson knows that healthcare doesn’t begin in the hospital—it begins in the home. The Center for Connected Care builds upon the Jefferson work to provide patients with the highest-quality healthcare regardless of zip code as it seeks to improve access to digital health resources.