Does Digital Health Favor the Wealthy?

It's easy to assume everyone benefits from tech strides. But do they?

Nov 16, 2019

SMITH BRAIN TRUST  In an increasingly always-on, connected world, it’s easy to assume that everyone reaps the benefits of technological advances. But is that really the case?

Does digital health discriminate against low-income groups? Dataconomy asks that question in a recent article, drawing expertise from Maryland Smith’s Kislaya Prasad.

People from low socioeconomic groups have always been disadvantaged when it comes to access to health care, says Prasad, research professor and academic director of the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. “This is especially true when it comes to preventive care and the management of chronic conditions. The move toward digital health is likely to make things worse.”

In 2019, the average price for a quality smartphone is over $500, Dataconomy writes. It seems that the rich will continue to reap the benefits of technology, while they collect and sell the data of the poor.

“Wearable devices and apps to manage chronic conditions are likely to be used disproportionately by the wealthy. We are moving towards a world where a constant flow of personal data (from devices around us) will be used to provide personalized care. The advantages of these new technologies are more likely to flow to the rich. There is a bigger danger here – that new treatments and discoveries will be based on the analysis of this data,” Prasad says.

Read more, here.




About the Expert(s)

Kislaya Prasad

Dr. Prasad is a Research Professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. He received his Ph.D. in Economics and M.S. in Computer Science from Syracuse University. Previous positions include Professor of Economics at Florida State University and Research Officer at the University of Cambridge. His principal research focus is on the computability and complexity of individual decisions and economic equilibrium, innovation and diffusion of technology, and social influences on economic behavior.

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