While voter suppression efforts are making it harder to vote in places like Texas, Georgia and Florida, one strategy makes voting during the pandemic a little easier: voting from your hospital bed. And one Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow is helping make it possible.
Michael O’Neil jumped at the chance to support Patient Voting, a nonpartisan group that brings awareness to the little-known process of emergency absentee ballots for hospitalized patients and their families.
O’Neil is founder and CEO of GetWellNetwork, a patient engagement company that provides digital health technology to serve 10 million patients each year at 700 hospitals and clinics across the country.
“We’re living in world of digital consumerism, but oftentimes in healthcare, you lose all that,” O’Neil said. The company has transformed the experience of being hospitalized—where patients can feel trapped, confused, and powerless—into one where patients can feel connected and empowered.
Now, they’re using their patient engagement platform to help parents of hospitalized children at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island vote without having to leave their child’s side.
“If you are in a hospital bed during the election, you have an opportunity to actually vote, so your voice can be heard,” O’Neil said.
This program is bringing new meaning to the idea that every vote counts.