New Tools Released by ATA to Address Healthcare Disparities Using Telehealth

New Tools Released by ATA to Address Healthcare Disparities Using Telehealth

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has unveiled a new toolkit developed by its Advisory Group on Using Telehealth to Eliminate Disparities and Inequities. With the goal of improving the health of communities and tackling healthcare disparities, the toolkit provides decision-makers with measures, calculators, and other tools to leverage telehealth in addressing social determinants of health. The advisory group, consisting of national healthcare leaders, is led by co-chairs Kristi Henderson, DNP, Yasmine Winkler, and Dr. Ron Wyatt, with David Smith, CEO of Third Horizon Strategies, facilitating.

According to Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the ATA, the tools go beyond traditional return on investment frameworks and emphasize economic and social values. The Disparities Advisory Group Toolkit includes a Digital Infrastructure Disparities Score and Map, an Economic and Social Value-Added Calculator, and a resources toolkit featuring a new roadmap. The digital infrastructure score assesses a community’s digital infrastructure on a scale of 1-100, while the calculator helps estimate the cost and value of telehealth-based interventions. These tools enable decision-makers to target and allocate funding for interventions that address healthcare disparities and the economic burden of inaction.

The release of these tools coincides with the third annual Telehealth Awareness Week, which aims to highlight the role of telehealth in expanding access to quality care and addressing challenges faced by healthcare providers. The passage of the Telehealth Expansion Act of 2023, making telehealth flexibilities permanent, demonstrates the federal government’s commitment to health equity and addressing social determinants of health. Furthermore, earlier this year, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology published an SDOH toolkit to assist community groups and healthcare providers in collecting and using social determinants data.

By providing decision-makers with comprehensive tools and resources, the ATA’s Disparities Advisory Group Toolkit empowers them to assess a community’s digital infrastructure, estimate the cost of telehealth interventions, and target funding to address healthcare disparities. Through the use of telehealth, these interventions aim to improve access to quality care and advance health equity for all individuals.


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